Sunday, May 31, 2009

Snap Shots from

I recently installed a tool on this site called Snap Shots. It enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, and more. Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Please let me know if this is an enhancement to the site, or if the screen shots get in your way. You can also opt-out by clicking the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot.

Thanks for your feedback!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Post on Endings

Please visit my novel blog, Hope and Faith, where I've posted Six Common Types Endings, the information gleaned from an endings class given by Linda Lindsey of HFC. It was an outstanding class full of valuable insight, too good not to share!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Five Things I Hope to Accomplish This Summer

Fun related:

  • A Trip to Disney World – This is something I've talked about summer after summer. Our last visit was just after 9/11, the park was empty – no lines, no wait. But the kids were too young to remember. It's way past time for another Disney vacation.

Writing related:

  • Work on my Novel – Get at least half-way through the rewrite of my novel, Hope and Faith. The Humble Fiction CafĂ© writers' group classes for our Six Month Novel Project (6MoNo) will be completed. No more excuses!

House related:

  • Wash the windows on the front and sides of the house. I recently did the back windows and they look so much better!

  • Organize and clean out my office. Perhaps a better name for my office would be multi-purpose room, as it serves as my day job office, writing space, and sewing area (lol – as though I sew). It also contains the household record-keeping area, bill-paying site, reference books, and the piano. It has a tendency to collect material, and needs a thorough organization/cleaning.

What's on your agenda for the summer?

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Short Story Posted - The Middle Child

I invite you to read and comment on my newest short story, The Middle Child. I've received several comments from people that they know someone like my character Heather in the story.

What about you? Do you know someone like Heather? What other feedback would you offer?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jesus Didn't Tap - A Sermon Remembered

During Lent, the pastor at my church (Woodforest Presbyterian Church) delivered a couple of outstanding sermons. I wanted to immediately write about them to share with you, but my busy schedule made that impossible. As it turns out, I have only been able to find the bulletin to one of those sermons, and I don’t remember the bible readings for the other.

My memory is hazy on the actual sermon, so this is a brief recap of what it said to me. And while I don’t know what my preacher called the sermon, I’m calling this...

Jesus Didn’t Tap

The bible readings:

Jeremiah 31:31-34:

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

John 12: 20-33 (Sermon text)

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify thy name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing by heard it and said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show by what death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains for ever. How can you say that the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?”

My youngest daughter takes martial arts lessons, and a popular clothing amongst these enthusiasts contains the phrase “Jesus Didn’t Tap.” Here’s the link to the clothing line. For the longest time, I watched each new design proudly worn. And I wondered, what did it mean?

Through a Google search and conversation with other parents, I learned that in martial arts, a participant will “tap” when they give up. They tap the floor, indicating an end to the match, a concession, a surrender. They tap to avoid further injury.

Jesus didn’t tap though, despite the fact that he knew what was ahead of him. When the Greeks came to see Jesus just days before his crucifixion, he knew then what was coming. He would be persecuted. He would suffer. Jesus could have said, “Father, save me from this hour,” but he didn’t. He knew his purpose and he stayed true.

Thanks be to God - Jesus didn’t tap and our iniquities are forgiven.

Have you heard a particularly good sermon that has spoken to you?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Book Review - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Classics) The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
rating: 2 of 5 stars

When I first picked up The Haunting of Hill House, I wondered if it would be a wise read before bedtime. Easily it is and with no nightmares to report. The Haunting of Hill House is not the scary horror story you would expect.

This is the story of a scientist out to prove that Hill House is haunted. He enlists the aid of two women with prior paranormal experience and a man that is heir to the house. Much of the story is in the head of its characters, and the reader is left to wonder if the bizarre events actually happen or are imagined. In any case, they aren’t that scary. And because it wasn’t always clear whether an occurrence was real or imagined, there were places in the story I found confusing.

While this book was already on my “to read” list, it was also recommended reading in preparation for an upcoming writing class on endings. The Haunting of Hill House was on the list of books with bad endings, and there it did not disappoint. The ending felt abrupt, rushed, and out of character with the rest of the story.

On the upside, the story moved along and held my interest, although I kept expecting something a little more. I liked it OK, but there are certainly better choices of books to read.

View all my reviews.