Oct 30

WHAT’S UP WITH HALLOWEEN?

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Over 1200 years ago, the early Church set aside November 1 as a day to honor all holy people. That day is called “All Saints Day.” A saint is just a holy person—someone who loves God.

Another word for “holy” is “hallowed.” We can remember that by the Lord’s prayer which tells us that “Hallowed (holy) is thy name.” The early church also set aside November 2 as a day to honor holy people who had died. That day is called “All Souls Day.”

Over time, the day before All Saints Day became known as Hallowed Evening—just like the day before Christmas is called Christmas Eve(ning). Hallowed Evening was later shortened to “Hallowe’en.”

In Latin countries, the Day of the Dead is observed between October 31 (Halloween) and November 2. The people dress like skeletons and parade through the streets to celebrate the lives of their friends and family members who have died. The Day of the Dead is based on the same Christian holidays that became our Halloween.

Pirate and fairy costumes may have nothing to do with the official Christian holy day, but knowing the origin of Halloween can help us use the holiday to think about Jesus.

Plus it’s always a good excuse to enjoy a few extra pieces of candy.

 

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Images courtesy of Pixabay.com

Oct 23

PREPARING TO WRITE

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November means colder weather, shorter days and thousands of books being written around the world. It’s NaNoWriMo month.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, when writers everywhere gather collectively (while still sitting isolated at their own computers) in November to write 50,000 words of a book. That’s 50,000 words in one month.

There’s a motivation and encouragement in being part of this movement . We commit to pouring out 50,000 (usually horrible) words to get a story or idea out of our heads and into a computer file as quickly as we can. By the end of November, we have 50,000 words in need of rearranging. Come January 1, we are ready to spend the next 12 months revising those horrible words and turning them into something beautiful.

In 2013 I wrote 50,000 words, not of a novel, but of a non-fiction project, ending that November with a horrible first draft of my first three Bible studies in the With Faith Like Hers series. That one month’s work, took me through three years of revisions, resulting in three complete books.

This year I committed to writing the first horrible draft of the second book in my Bernie of Belleterre middle grade series.  I am now spending time thinking through my plot, theme, conflict, character development and other aspects of creating a novel. Every part, that is, except for the writing.

One of the roadblocks many writers face is that they have a vision of a wonderful book they want to write. But once they begin, they recognize the horrible writing that first drafts inevitably are. They slow down, try to write the first draft perfectly and get bogged down, sometimes to the point of never completing the project.

In NaNoWriMo we collectively acknowledge and receive permission to write a horrible draft.  The draft is expected to be horrible. It is encouraged. It is fully part of the writing process.

Beauty comes through the revision process, just like the way God revises us, making us more into His beautiful image as He takes us through the refining process.

So friend, do you have a book stuck inside your head? There are local and national NaNoWriMo communities of other writers to encourage you.  There are resources. There is motivation and accountability. Writing 50,000 words in November means writing less than 2,000 words a day—a couple of hours a day  even if you don’t type fast.

Want more information? Here’s the link.  

I’d love to hear that you’ve joined me on this journey—either as a fellow writer or in prayer for my own project or other writers in the world.

If you decide to join the fun yourself, let me know how I can encourage you.

Oct 16

TEMPLE: Refocusing

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Each year I and other people around the world hold on to one single word throughout the year. That focus word helps us keep a thought, concept, goal or encouragement in mind throughout the year with hardly any effort.  This year my focus word has been temple. 

Through the focus word temple, over the last nine months, God has encouraged me towards better physical health for myself, has reminded me of my responsibility to encourage better health in people around me, has firmly nagged me that I have a duty also in the physical care of people God has placed in my life, and has taught me lessons about the Holy Spirit living in me as well as the real, ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

As we end the year 2017, I am grateful that my own health has improved since the first of the year. My husband came through a health crisis and is now into a process of maintenance and prevention of further issues.  The people for whose physical care I am responsible are stable for now.

But two and one-half months of 2017 still remain. I look forward with excited expectation to what lessons God has yet to teach me about this focus word.

And yes, I have already started making a list of possible focus words for 2018.

What about you? Did you choose a focus word for 2017? Might you choose one for 2018? What would it be and what do you hope God might teach you through a focus on that word?

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