Light Bulb Moments

Having been sick for almost three weeks has put me in a position of pause. I reluctantly rescheduled appointments, delayed duties, and missed occasions of enjoyment with family and friends. I pleaded for prayers of healing and restoration of my voice. With my vocal ability on hold, I focused on my manuscript for Book Two in my Legacy Series. Legacy’s Path is coming along with me in the middle of chapter thirteen. I did considerable first aid on this chapter, cutting and pasting until I felt it was right. My characters did their part in leading me in the direction they needed (dare I say wanted?) to go.

Yesterday as I sipped yet another cup of soothing tea and allowed “Seth and Emily” to carry a scene, a light bulb came on. In that illuminating moment, I knew how this book would end. What is more exciting is I also have the framework for Book Three!

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In my Bible, I have tiny lightbulbs drawn next to verses where God revealed something important to me. It often indicates a turning point in my thinking, attitude, or actions. I have commented to people about those “aha” moments when I finally can see the direction God wants me to go. I like to color yellow rays of light in my journaling. It helps me catch the thought and explore it more fully.

I find in my writing, when I allow the characters to speak, and we work in tandem, things flow easier. If I interject my plan on them, it usually ends up needing first aid. In my spiritual life, writing my own life script apart from God never fares well. He then steps in when I cry out for help. He is The Author and Finisher of my faith, and a much better writer than I ever hope to be.

Have you experienced light bulb moments? Please stay and share, I’d love to hear about them.

Talking About Books

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Discovering a good book and reading it begs conversations with other readers. It’s kin to finding a fantastic restaurant; you want to share the news with everyone you know. You mention your favorite item on the menu, the great service, atmosphere and the best time to visit.

With books we happen upon; either accidentally, through advertisement, or by recommendation, when it’s something that touches your soul, changes your life or gives you guidance, you can’t resist telling someone. Such was the case with me and a sweet friend a good number of years ago when she moved from San Antonio to Del Rio.

Deb and I determined to stay in touch and both being avid readers, what better way. We formed our unofficial Duo Book Club. We take turns suggesting a Christian book to read, and then each Sunday afternoon we discuss it over the phone from three till four o’clock. One chapter a week keeps it fresh and relevant. We choose nonfiction books which address areas we want to work on in our life, decide we’d like to develop a better awareness of a topic, or learn a different approach to more consistent spiritual disciplines.

Our talk time begins with a quick catch-up on what we’ve been doing through the week, praises for which we’re thankful, along with current prayer needs. Our book discussion begins with an overview of the chapter, and continues by drawing out specific points we feel are important, profound, or yes, occasionally pointless. Some of our selections have made a huge impression on us, while a few we struggled to get to ‘The End.’

While we strive to connect every week, there are times when we skip due to vacations, illness, or family gatherings. Our Duo Book Club has strengthened our friendship over the years. Through it, we’ve discovered things that draw us closer together. We support each other in many ways not possible without the closeness we’ve developed.

Book Discussion Clubs are fun and fantastic regardless of size. Besides my phone club, there are online groups, and of course, physical groups meeting in homes, coffee shops and libraries. Some read both fiction and nonfiction, while others enjoy fiction exclusively. Some seek out serious reading material but during the summer, they lighten it up with a selection just for fun.

I know of one overseas group (through a friend of my daughter), who chose my book, The Estate Sale, to read and discuss. A friend in California belongs to an online group and will be reading it in August. I also have a friend here in town who is a member of a library group and chose my book for October. She has invited me to be a guest for that meeting. I’m very excited and honored.

Talking about books with others creates windows of discovery about your (and their), views of life, death, and eternity. Start or join a group this summer and see where it takes you. If you’re a seasoned book discussion group member, let me know what you’re reading.

Hovering

I poured myself a cup of English Breakfast tea, and sat watching the hummingbirds dive, swoop and hover, around the two feeders on our back patio. It’s a challenge to keep them filled, because there are so many fighting for a spot at the sweetened nectar houses. I am entertained for as long as I remain still, undetected and quiet.

I learned that the male is responsible for the “bee-like” buzzing sound while hovering. The female whirring is a bit quieter. They pitch and dive, and emit various squeaks, twitters, and other high-pitched warning sounds. These tiny feathered friends are fun to observe, but they teach things if I watch and listen.

The hovering fascinates me. Suspended in air as they sip nectar quickly, their little wings move twenty-five to fifty times per seconds (some species much more). Hummingbird’s legs are tiny and weak, so they spend almost all their time in the air, resting briefly on occasion. They return often, trusting the feeder will contain what they need.

Mornings when I pour my tea and sit quietly, immersed in God’s Word, I’m learning a hummingbird lesson. I’ve started hovering at certain passages of spiritual nectar, drinking it in. My weakness is strengthened, enabling me to continue the journey God has planned for me. Sometimes I take a quick sip, while other occasions, I linger long. Daily I return to spend precious time hovering, trusting I will receive the nectar I need. The source of my spiritual food is unlimited and always available. I need only to seek it out.

I hope you’ll take time to feed, watch, and enjoy hummingbirds at your house this spring. Delight yourself in their antics. I pray you will, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalm 34:8

Journaling Treasures

It’s no secret I have a passion for journaling. I actually possess numerous books for such a purpose. I use different types depending on what I’m journaling about, but my favorite are my spiritual journals. Having kept them for many years, I have been able to witness the spiritual growth God has performed in me. The dated pages from decades ago, reveal baby steps of holding the hand of my Heavenly Father, as He guided and taught me His ways. Year by year, I have learned teachings, verses of Scripture, how to pray, and so much more. Still, I have such a long way to go.

You see, no matter how far we come in our spiritual walk, we will never “arrive,” this side of heaven. The short span of time we are here, is not sufficient to master the ways of God fully…nor did He intend for it to be. We’re on a journey from our birth until we leave this earthly body.

I find it interesting that the words journal and journey come from the same root word, meaning book. I like to think of my life being a book, and every day I record my thoughts and actions as I live out my life. I know my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 3:5), so one day I’ll be in His presence. My journey will be completed and my living journal will finished.

Right now, I enjoy recording what God teaches me and I try to not have to repeat the same lessons over and over. If I don’t get it right, He provides ample opportunity for demonstration purposes. It’s kindred to being held back a grade for your own good. You get to repeat the tests before moving on to something more challenging. In my journals, my life verse is written large on pages where I elaborate about being tired of going through “this” again. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds me God does and allows things for my good, and they aren’t coming to harm me. It makes repetition less painful.

I love to lead Spiritual Journaling workshops. If you would like more information about them, leave me a comment here with your contact information and I’ll be in touch. In the meantime, Happy Journaling!

My Tea Closet

Recently, I’ve begun moving my assortment of teas from the kitchen into my tearoom. By doing so, I’ve established a “Tea Closet,” of sorts. Having them handy makes choosing easier, rather than searching through my kitchen cabinet. Now I have it all in one place, making it a joy to select a new flavor or brand to try.

My “go to,” in the morning is English Breakfast Tea, but I love being adventurous occasionally (much like reading in a different genre), and choose something different. I find this doable when I have it gathered in one place. My taste buds learn something new when I sample various flavors. It might be a, “oooh, this is smooth and delicious,” or “wow, that’s too wild for me.” But I always learn something.

In my tearoom, across from the table, is my “Prayer Closet.” I found a comfortable recliner to snuggle up in, and I enjoy having my prayer shawl on the arm rest. The shawl was sent to me by my sweet friend, Sam, in Florida. Next to my chair, I keep a small basket which contains items I use during my quiet time with The Lord. A Bible, devotional, my prayer notebook, a gel pen, tissues, stamps and notecards (in case The Lord puts someone on my heart).

When I spend time in my tearoom, I leave changed. While sipping tea and communing with God, my perspective becomes more of His view than my own. The process of preparing my tea, settling into my Prayer Closet, and exploring God’s Word, gives me insight, wisdom and understanding. Often, my response is, “oooh, this verse brings peace to my spirit.” Sometimes, the Holy Spirit convicts me and I’m like, “Yikes! I’m sorry, Lord. Forgive me.” Either way, I’m changed because His forgiveness brings peace into my life.

How about you? There may not be a Tea Closet in your life, but I pray you have and use a Prayer Closet daily.

Tell me how a Prayer Closet might change you!

Tea Makes Everything Better

Does a hot cup of tea REALLY make everything better? There are many cute signs which promise there’s a tea for everything. Being an avid tea drinker, I understand the meaning behind the memes.

The simple process of preparing tea is contemplative. You can’t rush tea. It has its own time schedule. Waiting for the boil of the water and steeping of the leaves, allows me to slow down and prepare my heart.

Drinking a hot cup of tea calms my nerves, soothes my spirit, and relaxes my mind. When I’m stressed it untangles me. During times of hurt, it coats my inner pain. When my mind is so crowded I’ve left no spiritual whitespace, it erases the margins and opens up the mental page I’m thinking on.

I’ve given thought to why tea makes everything better for me. I believe It positions me to slow down so I can hear God better and be stirred by His Holy Spirit.

Why not take time today to indulge in a hot cuppa and spend time with The One who can make everything better?

My “Go To” Tea

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I love many flavors and varieties of tea. It’s interesting to experience various nuances, tastes, and aromas. One year during National Hot Tea Month (January), I sampled a different tea each day. I had so much fun and looked with anticipation toward the next day’s surprise. Some teas were smooth and mellow, while others stalked me all night. One smelled like pipe tobacco and I sampled it holding my nose with thumb and forefinger while sipping. It actually tasted decent once I made it past the smell. Predictably, it isn’t one I restock in my tea closet. Another tea I love is Margaret’s Hope, a Darjeeling. I save it for times when I meet with the Lord to discuss things on my mind. Someone asked me how many types of tea I have. About as many as the hats and books I own, was my answer. I’m really not sure. I love variety. Having confessed to such truth, I’ll add, I also have a “Go To,” tea. It’s one I enjoy in my bird mug first thing every morning. English Breakfast Tea. I believe I’ve tried the majority of its varieties and they are all delicious. My Go To Tea gets me going.

Anyone who knows me well acknowledges my love of books. They reflect many genres. Writers must be readers, so I normally have several books started and stashed all over, including one in my tote. This way, I’m able to make progress on each one, depending where I’m at. Even with books I have a Go To. The Bible. It’s the one I rely on to get me going each day. It contains many genres within the covers. There are even parts where I’d like to hold my nose and avoid the stench of sinful acts recorded by authors inspired by God. I learn from it and each day is an adventure as I read from both the Old Testament and New Testament. They soothe my soul and motivate me internally. Someone asked me how many Bibles I own. I’m not sure. I give some away when I feel led. I have different versions and use the NIV to study. I enjoy reading a passage in several translations. It gives me a broader picture of the meaning.

What is your “Go To?” What do you need daily to function and set things in motion? Let me hear from you.