I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love Defined by a Ninety-Year-Old

My father at home with his favorite Sonic Burgers!
My daughter recently sent me some quotations where children were asked to define love.  Some of them were pretty cute.

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."

"Love is when you kiss all the time.  Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more.  My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss"

"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."

"Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken."

"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."

But when my 90-year-old father was in a rehabilitation center for about 20 days, he gave me a new definition of love. Apparently he felt disoriented one day and bugged the nurses until they allowed him to call me.

His only words have become my favorite definition of love: “I want to be where you are.” Of course it hit me hard, and I left my chores immediately to go and sit with him.

The more I thought of it, the more I decided his words define love--whether from a father to a child, a husband to a wife, or friend to friend.  If we love someone, we simply want to be with that person.

Jesus Himself confirmed this in John 17 when He prayed to His Father and said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given me, be with Me where I am…” John 17:24

Do you have any favorite definitions of love? How have some of your favorite characters in books defined love?”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Few Computer Keyboard Commands That Might Save your Wrist...

by Patricia Bradley

I was talking with a friend the other day about ways to keep from having to use a mouse and she suggested that I blog about these short cuts. So here goes: (Note-this is for a PC, not sure about a Mac since I don't have one, but I'm sure there are shortcuts out there)

If you want to cut and paste text, how many of you out there use your mouse to highlight text then look for the scissors at the top of the page, and then use your mouse again to paste it where you want it? That's a lot of gripping of your mouse. 

I learned a long time ago to use keyboard shortcuts instead of a mouse. To highlight text I move my cursor with the shift arrows to the text I want to cut and paste. Then, holding the shift key down I move the cursor with the arrow until the text I want is highlighted. Then I simply hit Ctrl X, find the place I want to move the text and hit Ctrl V (for paste). It saves time and my wrist.

Another shortcut if you want to highlight a whole sentence is to put your cursor at the beginning of the sentence, hold the shift key down and tap end. That will highlight from your cursor to the end of the sentence.

Here are a few shortcuts using the Ctrl button (it's the button on the far left or far right at the bottom of the keyboard)
Control +
A = Select all
E = Center
S = Save
W = Close
D = Font
M = Indent
F = Search or Find
C = Copy
V = Paste
B = Bold
I = Italics
U = Underline
P = Print
X = Cut
Z = Undo

Here are a few shortcuts using the Ctrl + Function keys (those at the top of the keyboard)
Ctrl + 
F2 = Print Preview
F4 = Close window
F5 = Restore window
F6 = Go to next window
F7 = Spell Check
F10 = Maximize
F12 = Save as

I hope you find this useful. There are a lot more short cuts, but these are the ones I use the most. Leave me a comment and let me know if you use shortcuts or not.

Oh! And Shadows of the Past is a $1.99 on Amazon from Tuesday through Thursday!
 Link: http://ow.ly/y7f2B 

Patricia Bradley

Follow me on Twitter: @PTBradley1
Follow me on FaceBook: www.facebook.com/patriciabradleyauthor

I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Making a Scene Come Alive

By Jennie Atkins
Field of Dreams is one of my all-time favorite movies.  Especially one scene in particular. It’s when Ray Kinsella talks to Shoeless Joe Jackson about playing baseball:
Shoeless Joe Jackson: Man, I did love this game. I'd have played for food money. It was the game... The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?

Ray Kinsella: Yeah.

Shoeless Joe Jackson: I used to love travelling on the trains from town to town. The hotels... brass spittoons in the lobbies, brass beds in the rooms. It was the crowd, rising to their feet when the ball was hit deep. Shoot, I'd play for nothing!
In those few short sentences you can feel Shoeless Joe Jackson’s love for the game.  You can hear, taste, and smell everything he experienced from traveling from town to town to actually playing the game. Without trying you can almost smell the popcorn and taste the salty flavor of a stadium hot dog.

He could have stopped after he said “Man, I did love this game.”  But he didn’t, he explained why without going into laborious descriptions that went on forever.  He put his descriptions in phrases we could understand, see, taste, and feel.
My dog named Fred liked to eat popsicles.  By that description you could picture me handing him a frosty treat and in two bites and a gulp he’d have devoured it stick and all.  Nope, not Fred. Fred would sit down next to me and while I held the colored ice, he’d lick the Popsicle with his long tongue. His eyes would roll back in his head as he savored the cool sweetness on his tongue one long, luscious lick at a time.  Not once would he bite into it—he would slowly lick it clear down to the wooden stick.
As writers we need to stop and experience our writing one sweet scene at a time. What senses were engaged at the time? Was the air so foul with decay that it made the woman’s lunch crawl up her throat? Was the candy so sour that the small child shivered in reaction to its pucker? Was the scream so wretched the man never thought he’d sleep again without having it haunt him in his dreams?
It’s easy to plop in a bit of story world that describes the surroundings.  But instead of paragraphs of eloquently written phrases, try slipping in small snippets that make the reader dig into their own memories for similar sensations.  In the end, it makes them an active participant and puts them smack in the middle of your story without even trying.
Your Turn:  How do you fit descriptions in?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Writing Is Painting with Words

Delores Topliff

In Amsterdam's Rikstad Museum, a friend pointed out one special touch that made Rembrandt an outstanding master. His subject’s eye color was not simply solid brown or blue, but was highlighted with a single speck of white or pearl color, like light hitting and refracting from the eye, making it more life-like. Gaze in the eyes of a close friend or family member. Check their eye color, and you’ll see what I mean. Greatness comes from such detail.
Well-chosen details in writing help our characters stand out from one another. Or describe a landscape in such specific detail we know what mood or emotion will follow. Shakespeare mastered that skill. Dickens brought it to perfection. His sunlit landscapes with balmy skies prepare us for happiness. Storms, with thunder and lightning rolling for light and sound effects, set the stage for brooding disaster. We feel shuddering terror in his Great Expectations graveyard scene just before the terrible Magwitch rises from behind a tombstone and demands food. The spider-web garlanded home of aged spinster, Miss Havisham, including her intact rotted wedding cake, shows as much information as the dialogue tells--and we nearly need to hold our hankies to our noses.
Choose a favorite book or scene that stays with you, utilizing a skill you’d love to use in your own writing or conversations. Kipling’s Jungle Booksincludes this northern India panorama scene, inviting our eyes to take the journey, too. In my mind’s eye, I have repeated this journey more times that I can count:
            “Looking across the valley, the eye was deceived by the size of things, and could not at first realize that what seemed to be low scrub, on the opposite mountain-flank, was in truth a forest of hundred-foot pines. Purun Bhagat saw an eagle swoop across the gigantic hollow, but the great bird dwindled to a dot ere it was half-way over.” 
Now please name a favorite book or scene and share what you love most about it.