Playing Fill-In

Last week, Tuesday April 19, 2016 for those keeping records, Lucinda Secrest McDowell tells one of my favorite stories about one of my favorite people. She was guest posting on my friend Edie Melson’s blog, The Write Conversation.

As a story teller/writer/teacher, I am always seeking an audience, for what good is a story without someone to tell it to? What good is a joke without someone to laugh at it?

And how much better is it to share a message from God with someone who needs it, then to just hold it in your heart?

As a Christian, it’s important to discern when to tell what God has shown you and when to keep your mouth shut. The story of Joseph and his dreams of his brothers should make that clear. Joe tells his older brothers his dreams, God given and true, and his brothers thinks he’s bragging.(Genesis 37) Well, that’s the way older brothers are.

Ms McDowell reminds us of the snowy January Sunday morning in England in 1850. No snow plows, no central heating. A pastor’s nightmare determining whether to have church or not. Will enough people show up?

On this morning, the pastor didn’t show up. Only a few people sat scattered throughout the sanctuary. No one was really prepared to preach, but they couldn’t just send everyone back out into the cold. So one of the deacons agreed to get up and blather his way through.

There was a need and he stepped up. And from the records, it was bad. He didn’t say anything that was memorable. All that he had was passion for God.

But there was one teenager whose life was changed that day. A guy by the name of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who went on to be a great preacher, teacher, and to have a huge influence on both England and America.

All because a man stepped up when the opportunity presented itself.

He didn’t have to. He could have said it wasn’t worth it, not enough people. His platform was too small. Or it’s too hard to build a platform, so why bother. But if you have a story to tell, having a platform may not be the main factor. It may be one person, who takes what you in faith said, who then changes the world.

Perhaps your effort will be worth it after all.


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Thank you, again, for visiting.


Becoming An Overnight Success

I recently spoke to several friends about what we are getting out of our writing. It’s easy to look back on our blogs, or our unpublished writings, and wonder is it worth it?

Especially when it’s the week the mortgage arrives in the mailbox. Writing is work, so why do we do it? And are all the hours at the keyboard getting me any where?

We are all eager to find a quick route to success. You can tell this by all the schemes, nonfiction books, and online courses to show you how you can become successful.

One author who seems to have succeeded quickly was recently written about in the paper. (Yes, I still read the local paper.) Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, whose debut novel, The Nest, was purchased for what the paper called seven figures. It came out on March 22, after two years of working with the publisher. Already, there are talks of it becoming a movie.

Did you notice it was her first novel? Don’t you wish you could have success so quickly?

But it wasn’t quick. She had been writing advertising copies for twenty years and has non-fiction articles published in The New York Times. Six years ago she decided to make writing fiction a priority.

And for you who think you are too old to start. She is 55. (Just happens to be my age also.)

For most writers, seeing any success takes time. You have to learn the craft and meet people. And then it will depend on your definition of success. Is it a dollar amount, being able to maintain a certain size and type of house, or reaching people?

Jesus has a parable about this, The Rich Young Farmer (Luke 12: 16-21). I don’t think it was ever on the NY Times Best Sellers List. He was so rich he wanted to build extra barns to keep all his crops. But God was going to call him later that day for a different accounting.

Does that change your view of success? Our pastor this week gave an illustration using an extension cord to represent eternity and the plug was our lifespan. We worry so much about the plug, the now, we don’t see the much larger picture.

Maybe for us it’s too soon to quit. Maybe you’re still just getting started. Even if, like Ms Sweeney, it’s been twenty years.

(Here is a good interview with Ms Sweeney. It’s amazing how close she was to not writing her big seller.)

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As The Male Representative Let Me Interupt for One Minute…

I need to interrupt this blog for a short, personal rant.

Mine! Mine!
Mine! Mine!

Because of the workshops and classes I attend, I am often in the minority as a male, sometimes the only one. I am then looked upon for the male point of view; what do I as a male think. Yes, I am a male, but, and listen closely, THERE IS NO ONE MALE POINT OF VIEW! Just as there is no one female point of view. We are all different. Some guys love and worship sports, some guys would rather work on their car. Other guys may want to hang out with their friends or spouse. We are different. Some guys like to dress up, others like to wear their favorite jeans until they rot off, some would rather go naked.

And there is no male club. We are as llkely to stab each other in the back as women. We each have our own agenda. Sometimes it’s just to get under your skin.

My sweet, precious wife often ends our discussions with, “If you were a woman you would understand.” But I have spoken to women and I know, many times you do not understand each other. Now you have more empathy and often don’t say anything, but you are just as likely as a guy to walk away from the conversation shaking your head.

Group of Young People at a Party Sitting on a Couch with Champagne
A group of males and females getting along.

So, let’s slow down on the us and thems and let’s start actually listening to each other. Your husband is a male, and maybe a Neanderthal, but what makes him a caveman? Listen to what he grunts, I mean says. And if you ask him do these stripes make me fat…just don’t ask.