Thursday, March 27, 2014

Awesome Contest!

I thought that writing my manuscript would be the hardest part about becoming an author.

Then I started researching all the ins and outs and how to's of the publishing world.  Synopsis, three line pitch, six line pitch, query....all these foreign words and phrases nearly rattled my brain right out of my head.  Couldn't it just be simpler?

Ah ha!  Maybe it can!

Writer's Digest is having their 15th "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest, in which, you could win a critique of your first ten pages by an agent.  Um, yes please!

This would be awesome, even if it didn't result in being represented.  Getting feedback on my writing has proven invaluable in helping me make my story and my writing better.  Having a professional's opinion on my work would be a wonderful tool.

Know anybody who writes YA?  Tell them about this!  You never know what could happen!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Here I raise my Ebenezer-

No, not this guy:

Ebenezer Scrooge
"Here I raise by Ebenezer."

First Samuel, chapter 7, is where we get this from. Samuel raised a large stone as a monument to God helping the Israelites defeat the Philistines.  Samuel called the stone an Ebenezer, meaning "stone of help", and said "Here the Lord helped us."

Our God is amazingly faithful.

If you find yourself at a place in life where you feel like God is holding out, or letting you down, or just stalling, I highly encourage you to sit down with a piece of paper, and start writing down all the ways God has proven Himself faithful....all the ways He has provided, even things that you didn't even ask Him for or know you needed.  All the things He's given.  All the wisdom in decisions, the friends who encourage you, the physical provision.  Start and you'll find that it's hard to stop.

It's a good lesson.  Sometimes when I feel like God isn't up to something, I need to remind myself of what He has already done.

I need to remember it.

God told the Israelites to remember what He's done.  They had festivals and holidays, meals and prayers, all so that they could remember, and pass on to their children, the faithfulness of God.

It's amazing what a visible reminder of something will do to you.

I started making a list again here recently of all that God has done for Dave and I just in the past couple of years.  The list was staggering. It left me repenting to God for forgetting who He is and for thinking so little of Him.  It also left me hopeful, because it reminded me of how Big and Good my God is.

I want to make sure I don't forget.  I want to have a wall in our house of Ebenezers; places where we write on cards or draw pictures or somehow mark the ways in which God has helped us.

Really, I want a wall plastered with crayon drawing and handwritten index cards and a million other things.  A wall of reminders.  A wall of "stones of help" so that we, and our children, never forget all that God does.

How about you?  Go grab a legal pad, or a post it note, or a long roll of butcher paper, and start writing down what God has done so far for You.  Tack it to your dashboard or your bathroom mirror, or wallpaper your room with it.  May we not forget what God has done.  May we stop to acknowledge and point out, to God and to others, that "here the Lord has helped us."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

On being a girl

So, I see lists like this all the time:

The feminine power movement is everywhere.  In Disney movies (Belle is smart, Mulan fights, etc, etc), in picture books, everywhere.

Rock on.  I don't want my daughters thinking that being a girl is all about being attractive.


Sometimes I worry that we are making girls feel shame for being girly.  The girl who wants to play on the football team gets all sorts of notice and pats on the back.  But the girl who loves ballet and wears pink?  Just a quick glance or a roll of the eyes.

I want my daughters to love beauty.  I don't mean appearance; I mean beauty.  I feel that it's something so special to being a woman.  Not that men can't love beauty too, but being female holds such a privilege of enjoying beauty in ways that men don't.  And I want my girls to love it.  Creating things.  Making things pretty.  If they are tough, spunky girls, that's awesome.  But I don't want them to feel that they have to be a tough girl in order to have value as a female.

I don't want them to feel shame in wanting to dress up and feel pretty.  I want them to play with makeup and fix their hair and paint their toenails if they want.  I want them to decorate their school notebooks and the walls of the their room just because they like the way a thing looks.  I don't want them to feel bad if all they want out of life is to be a wife and mom.

Our culture has done what it does best and that is that it's swung from one end of the spectrum to another.  We shut up women in kitchens and nurseries in the 50's and now we preach power and strength as the desired feminine traits.  Even in the books we read.  And I love the warrior-girl books.  But not everyone is a Katniss or a Tris.  Not everyone will save their district or faction or kingdom.

I don't want my girls growing up thinking their value and worth is based on appearance or looks, and I don't want them thinking that they can't do things because they are a girl and that they are destined to a life in the corner.

But, just as much as I don't want that, I don't want my girls putting on a tough girl persona that is just as false.  If they like pink and don't want to dig in the dirt and hate video games and violence but love ruffles and lace and baking, then more power to them.

Have we sacrificed an essential component of femininity in our quest for girl power? I feel like we have.  And in doing so I feel like we have sacrificed the best part of being a woman.  Because we are fierce and loud and soft and gentle.  I love in Proverbs 31 where it describes the ideal woman, and man, she is a lot of different things.

I'll be interested to see how our culture paints the picture of what's desirable in a girl twenty year from now.  Interesting too how I will guide my daughter(s) up the slippery slope of figuring out what it means to be a girl in her own unique way, and not feeling pressure to live up to someone else's standard.