What I’ve Learned Lately … With Lynda Schab

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to author Lynda Schab. Lynda and I met a few years ago through an online critique group and I can honestly say that I have absolutely loved any of her writing I’ve ever read. She has a fresh, funny, I-can-relate-to-everything-her-character’s-going-through writing voice that pulls you right into her stories. I have a feeling that if we ever get the chance to meet in person it will be like we’re old friends. 🙂

So, here’s Lynda with some things she’s learned lately.

“Four things you can’t recover: The stone, after the throw. The word, after it’s said. The occasion, after it’s missed. Time, after it’s gone.”

I’d never heard that quote until a friend posted it on Facebook. But I love it! It’s so true, isn’t it? The two that hit me the hardest were WORDS and TIME.

WORDS: How often have I blurted something out to my kids or my husband in the heat of the moment? Too many to count, that’s for sure. There have been so many times I wish I could take my words back. I say I’m sorry, but it’s too late. The damage has been done. The hurt has been handed out. There have even been times when my words (or someone’s words to me) were so hurtful that major work needed to be done to repair the damage and restore the trust.

With that in mind, what a responsibility we have as writers! The words we write will impact the lives of those who read them – whether for good or bad. And the critiques and feedback we offer other writers will also leave a mark. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everything we say or write has to be positive and cheery. But how we execute criticism and bathe a difficult or negative message we’re conveying is what’s important. Always speak the truth- particularly hard-to-hear truth – in love. Remember that once the words are out, we can’t take them back.

Some scriptures to keep in mind:

Proverbs 12:18
Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 18:21
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 1:26
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

James 3:5
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

TIME…man, how many opportunities to spend time with my kids have I missed? Again, too many! Even more, how many opportunities to spend time with God have I passed up? WAY too many. Which makes me wonder how many priceless memories, or imprints on my kids’ hearts, or breakthroughs in my spiritual walk have been lost because I didn’t spend my time wisely.

Oy…

In the same way, how many books could I have written by now if I had spent my time writing instead of playing computer games or watching television? It kills me to think about it.

I don’t know about you, but when I get to heaven, I want to make God proud of the ways I used the time He gave me on earth. I’m not saying that playing computer games or watching TV is a bad thing, just that I, personally, need to re-evaluate how I spend my time. And when I do, I’m sure I’ll realize I’ve wasted way too much of it.

Ephesians 5:15-16
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Colossians 4:5-6
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

James 4:14-17
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Basically, the quote about the four things you can’t recover has helped me to consider what’s truly important in life. How I act, what I say, and how I spend my time…these are things that affect not only my life (and others’ lives) here on earth, but that hold eternal value.

Something to think about today.

What I’ve Learned Lately … With Lisa Lickel

I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from the blogging world, thanks to work things and enjoying spring break with our kids. It’s nice to be back today, and especially nice to introduce you to author Lisa Lickel. Lisa and I met through American Christian Fiction Writers and are both posters over at the Favorite PASTimes historical blog. She’s also a regular contributor to other blogs that have great posts about writing and life in general. So, yes, she’s a busy lady!

Here’s the official short bio … Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and fifty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include mystery and romance, all with a twist of grace. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin Magazine and loves to encourage new authors. Find her at LisaLickel.com.

And now here’s Lisa!

 

Learning Experiences in My Corner of Life

 

Thank you, Leigh, for having me.

 

A Matter of Perspective

 

I’m like a lot of you, I think — my mom calls fairly often. We live across the state from each other; in the winter, across the continent. I dread the question I know she’ll ask: “Anything new with your writing?”

Perspective, attitude, goals, discipline: these all change the same way we introduce ourselves to different people. When strangers ask me what I do, I sound glamorous; when my family asks, I can be more honest about the drearier side of being an author—the constant submission whether by me or my agent; the waiting and the hoping.

A recent message I wrote about attitude took a page from winning Super Bowl coach Mike McCarthy’s playbook: when do you get measured for your Super Bowl ring? The fact that the coach had his players measured the night before they played and won probably didn’t cause the players to win the game, but I’m sure it reminded them of the goal. Winning in this business means being read.

To reach that goal of establishing a readership, I employ discipline. And here’s where I tell you my other secret: I don’t put clean words on fresh paper every day. The act of writing takes a village of disciplines. The successful author knows that research in many forms, editing, reading and marketing actually take up the bulk of the process we call writing.

Being an author is always thrilling in one form or another: either we’re riding high or we’re on the down-swing of the bungee ride; the wind beneath our wings. The journey involves both trust and vulnerability. I write from my gut, spilling out my best words and phrases, sharing my dreams, my heart, in the hope of somebody (in the best Sally Field moment) will LIKE me! And tell all their friends.

What’s new with me? I’ve written two novellas and will start another batch soon. I’m so delighted by the direction my new group blogs are taking. Check out thebarndoor.net and reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com. I’ve sold some short stories to Harpstring Magazine (check out writtenworldcommunications.com). I became the editor-in-chief of a Wisconsin literary magazine, I’ll be leading two workshops in March and April; I’ll be teaching a course for ACFW online in May, and my sales are picking up.

Who else will bleed for you like an author? What’s new with your writing?

 

Great thoughts to leave us with, Lisa. Whether we’re writers, readers, or just trying to get through life, we need to work on perspective and discipline. Sounds like it’s definitely working for you, and it will be great to hear when some of your other projects find a publishing house. Thanks for stopping by today!

 

What I’ve Learned Lately … with Colleen Capes Jackson

Today I’m glad for the chance to introduce Colleen Capes Jackson, director of my local writers group (East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers). Colleen is one of the most even-keel, trusting, generous people I’ve ever known. She’s always helping someone, whether it’s through prayer, teaching, handling more than she ever should, or slipping a couple of dollars to my daughter when she sometimes acts as our “security guard” during meetings. 🙂 Visit Colleen online to learn more about her writing, CDs, and photography.

 

What’s on your mind when you wake up in the morning? For most of us, it’s an agenda that has little room for the unexpected. Getting to work on time, getting kids where they are supposed to be, house and yard work, bills, errands, community, and church . . . all encompassing, right?

Believers struggle with finding time to pray and worship. We feel overpowered by the demands on our life and waddle in a pool of guilt. I struggled with this too until a friend shared something very special with me. Every morning, as soon as she opens her eyes, she says, “Good morning, Father, good morning, Jesus, good morning, Holy Spirit – I love you.”

I adopted her advice and found such a peace that I have continued it for the past twenty years. By acknowledging the blessed Trinity, it opens up a spirit of worship and conversation that last throughout the day.

I now expect the unexpected from God. I look for miracles in my life. I receive sweet acknowledgements that I am never alone. He often sends a refreshing breeze to sweep over me as I walk to my car at the end of the work day. Before, I would have missed that gift altogether because my mind was too busy. By putting our minds in tune with God at the beginning of the day, a sense of peace follows all day long.

My eyes are aware of people in the grocery store who need prayer or a word of encouragement. God opens conversations that tell me he has walked ahead of me and planted a seed that I have been sent to water. A man of humble means was behind me in the store with only a handful of groceries. I stepped aside and allowed him to go ahead of me. He thanked me and we began to talk. He had accepted Christ six months prior and is living a new life of sobriety. He was having a difficult time that day. I had the pleasure of reminding him God loves us and knows our struggles.

I remember to be thankful for running water that I don’t have to tote or boil; for air that I can breathe without need of a mask; for shelter that isn’t a makeshift bed in the woods or under a bridge.

I indulge in the most precious favor of God as I see his hand in my life in the smallest to the most important detail. A parking space opens up just where I need it; finances fall into place; a newly found wisdom helps me to handle a situation that would have otherwise devastated me. When I feel poured out, God refreshes me and I’m bursting with creativity and understanding that I know could not possibly have come from me.

So here’s the challenge. Give your first thoughts to God; get rid of guilt and replace it with God’s amazing love, forgiveness, friendship and guidance. “Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” Psalm 143:8, NLT

 

Thanks, Colleen, for a wonderful testimony and challenge that can make all our lives better. I’ve started following that line of thinking myself and love how it makes me more aware of God everywhere around me. Anyone else up for giving it a try? If so, we’d love to know about it today and get an update from you down the road about what kind of difference it made in your life.  Thanks for joining us today!

What I’ve Learned Lately … With Kari Apted

Today I’m thrilled to share my corner of the blogging world with Kari Apted, a friend from my local writer’s group (East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers). Here’s a bit about her to get us started …

Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two cats, two fish and one dog. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications. She placed second for Best Humerous Column in the Georgia Press Association’s 2008 Better Newspaper Contest.

Random House released her first nationally published work on September 12, 2006 — Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. She also appeared in Muse of Fire, a documentary that accompanies the anthology as it is distributed to libraries and military bases around the world.

And now, here’s Kari!

 

As a busy homeschooling, freelance-writing, three-boys-raising Christian Mama, I can honestly say I learn something new every day. Some of this knowledge is helpful, such as learning that my toddler, Jonah, has mastered the art of screwing off bottle caps. Other bits are completely useless trivia that will only benefit me if I land on a game show someday.

For instance, did you know that an elephant, lacking access to water on a hot day can—and will—swallow his own trunk, suck up his stomach fluid and spray it all over himself to cool down?

Now that I’ve enriched your life by sharing that bit of trivia, I’d like to thank my friend Leigh for allowing me to share a few more of my recent gems—thankfully, none of which are as disgusting as the above.

First, I learned just yesterday that trying to force my 16-month-old cuddle bug to cry-it-out at bedtime is just pointless. My older two sons were such great sleepers. Zach is 13 and Eli is almost 9, and practically from birth, they slept happily in their own beds. The idea of co-sleeping in a family bed was so foreign to me. I couldn’t imagine it.

Then came Jonah. They say the third child comes to shake up everything you thought you knew about parenthood, and I can vouch for the truth in that.

My column that’s running in the Covington News today is about this very topic. What that piece doesn’t mention is that we did try letting Jonah cry in his crib a couple of nights this week and it left him so wakeful and cranky that it just wasn’t worth it. So, back into my bed he went. We’ll still try to sneak him into his crib whenever he’s asleep, so that he’ll get used to being there. But I just don’t have the heart to leave him to cry when all he wants is the safety of being tucked between his parents at night. Maybe this child just needs that more than the other two did?

Which brings me to an overall life lesson I’ve learned since having my third child: attachment parenting isn’t just for crunchy granola types. I’m about as non-crunchy as they come. Politically conservative, I don’t recycle, I’ve never owned a pair of Birkenstocks, hugged a tree or even considered adopting a vegan lifestyle. (A life without cheese? I wouldn’t want to live it!)

But my baby wears cloth diapers, is still breastfeeding, and I already mentioned that co-sleeping thing, all of which I once thought I’d never do. I guess one of the blessings of being over 40 is that you stop caring so much about what other people think and just do what works for you.

I just learned something new from the mouth of my 8-year-old, even as I type. He is reading about lobsters and informed me that they can live to be 100 years old and grow up to 4 feet in length. Additionally, a lobster that has lost both its claws is called a bullet or a dummy, but this doesn’t hurt his self-esteem because he has the superpower of growing them back. Thank you, Eli, for giving me another set of gems for my “Future ‘Jeopardy’ Appearance” file.

Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned lately came from my pastor last Sunday. He’s been speaking about abiding in Christ, and this week focused on the role the word of God should play in our lives. Basically, he said that if we neglect to read our Bibles, we’re showing contempt for the gift that God has given us in his word. That really hit me hard.

Here in America, we make it easy to neglect our prayer and devotion times, filling our lives up with things we enjoy, but are spiritually void, working hard for material things that please us but have no eternal value. And then we wonder why things are so hard, or why we aren’t blessed.

Pastor Chad summed it up with this verse, Joshua 1:8: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

And there you have it, my friends: the most valuable thing I’ve learned lately is the secret to prosperity and success; something that many people pursue but never find. How amazing to learn that it’s so simple, and right under our noses.

I hope that one day I can write a blog post about things I’ve learned and testify that I’ve finally learned how to give God rightful ownership of my entire life, instead of always snatching bits back from him. I’m just so thankful he is a patient father, a more patient parent than I am to my kids.

Because a toddler who’s mastered screw-tops and nabbed the ointment can wreak more havoc than you can possibly imagine.

 

Thanks, Kari, for being my guest today and for sharing a slice from your life. Visitors, leave a comment or ask Kari a question, and be sure to visit her website for more glimpses into a writing mom’s life.