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 28, 2016

When You're Running on Empty

by Teri Smith

Face it. Sometimes we get depleted. We'd like to put on a front that says "all is well", but life sometimes has a way of sapping our strength. The Bible says we're created with a spirit, soul, and body. Any of these can end up drained.

But we don't have to stay that way! We can replenish, and here's a few suggestions.

If your spirit needs refreshing, make sure you're at church! Worshiping with other believers does wonders to lift that part of us that connects with God. Or sign up for a Bible conference. I've enjoyed several of Beth Moore's conferences. Sign up for a Bible study. Bible Study Fellowship and Precepts are both great places to start. And don't forget your own personal quiet time. God's Word has it's own power to renew our spirits.

But maybe your soul needs revival. The soul is that part of our being that has affections. Sometimes we refer to it as our "heart". I suggest maintaining friendships. Invite a friend to go on a walk with you. I have a walking buddy who often phones and asks if I'd like to walk. It helps that I've known her since childhood, but don't be afraid to make a new friend. Probably there's someone close by who would treasure a new friend. Ask her to join you at a restaurant. God made us to enjoy companionship.

But I also find that sometimes, it's really my body that needs refueled. This is when that "walking with a friend" has a duel purpose. Or join a gym. Take up a new sport like tennis or swimming. And don't forget healthy eating. Binge eating or too much sugar never picks us up in the long run.

Now about that writing. What can you do if you're out of inspiration? That's part of what we Ponderers are all about. We'd love to encourage you or help you brainstorm. Just let us know how we can help! I also suggest My Book Therapy with Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. It's an amazing community of writers to teach and inspire. American Christian Fiction Writers also has a yearly conference with amazing teachers, appointments with agents and editors. It pretty much has to be experienced to fully understand.

What about you? What do you do to keep vibrant in your spirit, soul, and body? Share, please!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Unexpected


They were talking about drag racing. About souped-up cars, low-riders, and all that fun stuff.

“My first car was a low-rider,” I said.

They didn’t believe me. Especially when I produced a picture of that particular vehicle—the Suzuki Sidekick I bought off eBay when I was in college. The one with ground effects, big rims, skinny tires, and a custom paint job. (And a whole lot of issues, but that’s beside the point.)

Fun times.

A few weeks after my new friends found out this little tidbit, they were still shaking their heads in disbelief. Besides hearing the roar of the engine and bouncing along as I shifted gears, the unexpectedness was half the fun of my little tin can. People didn’t expect someone like me to step out of that car. Without even meaning to, they imagined who would be sitting behind the wheel, and I didn’t fit the stereotype. Which just made life a little more fun.

Another friend is a musician—very talented. She’s a petite young woman who can talk faster than anyone I know, plays the organ and piano, loves classical music and old architecture and reading and discovering a good restaurant. Also, she loves to shoot and has a growing gun collection.

That last bit, to me, didn’t fit the mold. It was unexpected, and makes getting to know her that much more delightful.

In my current WIP, I’m really enjoying working with one of my characters. She’s loud and gets into people’s business, wears a bandana and has a few blue hair extensions mixed in with her dark locks. And she has a soft spot for old-fashioned Sunday dinner, complete with embroidered linens—not an interest you would expect her to have if you met her. (Which I hope you will at some point.) She’s lace and rough-hewn wood, and the hero can’t help being fascinated by her.

For you writers, what about your current story—do any of your characters have an unexpected hobby, collection, quirk, etc.? And what’s something people might find unexpected about you?
I love how God created each of us unique. No carbon copies, no copy and paste. We’re each wonderfully and remarkably made. So learn something new about someone around you today, and see if you can find a way to add new dimensions to your characters.

~ Jenness
(Stay tuned -- A brand new website is coming SOON!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Do you run from? Or toward your enemies? Our choice determines the outcome.

Delores E. Topliff
     Friends who live in northern British Columbia, Canada, tell me when you surprise bears in the forest (unless they have young with them) your best bet is to make lots of noise and run toward them—like God had David run toward Goliath. My friends use this technique, and it works.
     The closest I got to that situation was while working in an even more remote area doing forestry vegetation surveys when a large unhappy moose made increasingly threatening sounds near me. 
     On foot and armed with only a notebook and a small bell, I feebly sang, “No weapon formed against me will prosper,” and prayed like mad. Soon the thunderstorm that had been playing hide and seek overhead for hours boomed and headed our way. Aware of the storm but not of the L-A-R-G-E moose near me, my boss called it a day and came from a distant point on his quad to take me back to civilization.
     Julius Caesar knew this principle, too. After giving his troops their battle strategies, he had his joke writers deliver the week’s most hilarious story just before he lowered a lance and send his men RUNNING into battle roaring with laughter. History says that on more than half of those occasions, as enemies saw robust well-armed soldiers running toward them laughing like maniacs, the enemies turned tail and FLED rather than staying to fight.
     What about you? Whether writing a book or facing life, how we face our enemies has LOTS to do with what happens next. Instead of cowering, change the situation. Turn the tables on enemies by doing what they don’t expect, and make them so afraid THEY run.
     Actually little in life deserves fear. An adage says that dogs only bite victims if they sense we’re afraid. Long ago I (mostly) chose the habit of not yielding to fear by not giving negative issues recognition or spending much energy on them. Most times, they shrink away to nothing anyway. Or flee as we celebrate their departure. 
     Therefore, live, laugh, TERRIFY the enemyand enjoy happy days.
     Now, tell us about a time when this has worked for you, or how you're going to face fear next time.