Sunday, December 30, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ A New Year

Pss. 51: 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

A New Year
***
The New Year comes in a cool swift wind
Time for change in the hearts of men
Trees are bent some boughs are pinned
Seasonal snow once again.

The tides of change, a raging sea
Tossed me about this year of need
All my friends heard my plea
Reached out to me in blessed deed.

With twists and turns the year gave rise
Silent echoes stirred the night
Stars they dripped from the skies
An answer to, my inner plight.

My soul made whole by years end
The stormy sea now rests.
A new day unfolds, my body to mend
I embrace the new years quests!
***
Isa. 40: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Rom. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Quotation Saturday


NEW YEAR

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier'...”
~ Alfred Tennyson


“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
~ Neil Gaiman


“Tomorrow, is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one.”
~ Brad Paisley


“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”
~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce


“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”
~ G.K. Chesterton


“Make New Year's goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you're interested in fully living life in the year to come.

Goals give us direction. They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level. Goals give our life direction.

What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?

What would you like to attain? Little things and big things? Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love? What would you like to have happen in your family life?

What problems would you like to see solved? What decisions would you like to make? What would you like to happen in your career?

Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your time, and write it all down - as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.”
~ Melody Beattie


“The great miraculous bell of translucent ice is suspended in mid-air.

It rings to announce endings and beginnings. And it rings because there is fresh promise and wonder in the skies.

Its clear tones resound in the placid silence of the winter day, and echo long into the silver-blue serenity of night.

The bell can only be seen at the turning of the year, when the days wind down into nothing, and get ready to march out again.

When you hear the bell, you feel a tug at your heart.

It is your immortal inspiration.”
~ Vera Nazarian
 


“Faith is why I'm here today and faith is why I believe I can achieve something in my life.”
~ Jonathan Anthony Burkett,


“It is with each New Year that you realize: you’ve grown, you’ve matured, you’ve won the battle...of yet another year!”
~ Joni Zipp
 
Happy New Year to all! 
My friends, my foes and everyone in between. 
May you have a blessed start to a New Beginning! 
I know I will!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ Twinkle Twinkle

Pss.12: 1 Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men

A Tragedy

Crimson has stained the world
As we mourn the life of youth.
No joyous sounds, no jingle bells
Stolen was the age of truth.

Blood has washed over our hearts
stained is our Christmas glory.
We sit in wonder of it all
as some are raging in fury.

Oceans of pain has erupted
on this luscious land we adore
Corruption has slithered along to find
we’ve welcomed all we abhor.

Tragedy unleashed its sorrow
in brutal ungodly fashion.
Wiping out the hearts of men
who are strong with Godly passion.

What better way to slash at God
then to slaughter His purest on earth;
to take away the moment in  time
that we celebrate Jesus’ birth.

How can man even fathom
as we grapple in the dark.
For one shining ray of hope
to the everlasting spark?

Often times as the path grows dim,
And we search for a ray of light.
High above there’s a shining star
Guiding us through the night.
***

Twinkle, Twinkle
***

Twinkle, twinkle
My little star
How I wonder
Why you’re off so far
Way up high out of my reach
So many things I’ve yet to teach.

Twinkle, Twinkle
My little star
In God’s hands
You’re not so far
Up above the moonbeams sigh
Can you see me as I cry?

Twinkle, Twinkle 
My little star.
How I wonder
about this scar;
Left upon my soul so clear.
By my child, once so near.

Twinkle, Twinkle
My little star
Hold my place
Right where you are
Remember we’re not far apart
A place for you is in my heart.

Twinkle, Twinkle
My little star.
All the world
Knows who you are.

***
In remembrance of the children of the Dec. 14th  Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre

Pss. 14: 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God


Heaven shines a little brighter, as a spiritual renewal washes over.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Silent Night



The Rain of Pain
By: Adam Zipp

***
Burn away countless pain
Here alone dark companion
turn to hell burn my soul
someone weeps in a corner
silent rage brings violent endings.

The voices heard no more
Laughter just a factor
Silent bells the won’t hear
Turn away and ignore the pain
Softer now it begins to rain.

Come with me and feel their pain
They had no voice,
for they were empty,
Now to hear their cries
we have to beg and pray.

Turning in our sleep
We feel alone;
at least we can
Hold our own
Turn up the night
To hear the lullaby.


They have no names
Because none are needed
Those tiny hands
Will never hold again.
Listen to their cries
And feel their pain.


Turn up the night
Just to hear the rain
Even though they weep
We only see their graves

Candles burn in the dead of night
Softened by the rain that falls
Walk so tall, just to fall
The tears can mix
Within the rain.

Even though they died
No one hears their cries
Desperate we strive
Just to fall and cry.
Maybe it’s to late
To feel the pain

No smiles
No tears
No gifts
No one hears
No pain
Just listen to the rain.
***
The above poem was written by my soon-to- be seventeen year old son. It was written on the Monday after the tragic hellish nightmare in Newtown Connecticut.

It pained me to send him to school but I know in my heart that this boy has a heart and feels. This is an expression of just one among millions of children that have to face schools again and he deals with the tragedy though writing.

I love you Adam!
***
What was written below was sent via a forwarded email. This needs to be heard too. I give the writer full rights, this is just to heavenly to let pass by:

God Bless These Families
Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:30am, when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air,
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say,
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“This is heaven.” Declared a small boy, “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same,
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring,
those children all flew into the arms of their King
And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
And as if He could read all the questions she had,
he gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
Then he looked down on earth, the world far below,
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“May this country be delivered from the hands of fools “,
“I’m taking back my nation, I’m taking back my schools!”
Then He and the children stood up without a sound,
“Come now my children, let me show you around.”
Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran,
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

On another note: This was written by a dear friend from church. Thank you Mrs. Carol Roth, what a beautiful soul that God has placed in my life.

THE CHRISTMAS STORY as found in Christmas CAROLS.

Many people see the Christmas season in a far different light than those who prefer to observe "the REASON for the SEASON", Jesus. They would rather "Deck the halls with boughs of holly", have a big evening out with "Frosty the Snow man" and "Good King Wenceslas" singing "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen". Most celebrate and "Ring Those Bells", those "Silver Bells"and keep "Jingle Bells" going on and on.
But most important, remember "It Came upon a Midnight Clear", on a "Silent Night" that "We Three Kings of Orient ", following the "Star of the East", said to each other "Go tell it on a Mountain" . "Angels From the Realms of Glory" sang "The First Noel"--."O Holy Night". "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" they paused, because of the "Angels We Have Heard On High" and "There 's a Song in the Air. They knew that they should go to "O Little Town of Bethlehem" because "A Babe is Born in Bethlehem". In Bethlehem, they found the Babe "Away in a Manger" because there was "No Room in the Inn" and there was "No Place but a Stable". They gathered around the "Newborn Babe" asked "What Child is This?" Worshipping the Child, their response was "This is Christ the King". They sensed this was "Love Beyond Measure".

"Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." (James 1:17) "O Come, All Ye Faithful", join together in praising God for His Perfect Gift. "JOY TO THE WORLD! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing, and Heaven and nature sing. And Heaven and Heaven and nature sing.!"

I hope you enjoyed my compilation of our best Christmas carols!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ Harvest of Souls

Soul Harvest
*** 
The time is near, the hour nigh,
moonbeams droop in a blackened sky.
Blazing sun scorches the land.
Earth erupts in a quivering stand.

Encircling us is ravaging hate,
lust and greed severs our fate.
I sit and watch as lives unravel,
the boulder of strength now merely gravel.

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
souls bewildered by mistrust.
Doubt and fear, they give rise;
to muted pleas and mournful cries.

As souls ascend and souls descend,
it is our own that we must mend.
Bringing forth joy, love and peace,
the decorum of beauty will never cease.

Firmly tread as the time is here,
to boldly proclaim, all we revere.
The harvest of souls its beckoning plea;
it's craving you; devouring me.

Come forth and share your wholesome beauty.
unleash love, our soulful duty.
Reap what you sow, seek and find.
then you my friend, won't be left behind. 
***
Copyright ©joni zipp

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Quotation Saturday

HOPE


“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
~ Shel Silverstein

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
~ Ellen Bass

“Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.”
~ J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

FAITH

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
~ Mother Teresa

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

“To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

LOVE

Pss. 40: 16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

Pss. 97: 10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked

Isa. 63:99 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

Matt. 19: 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ The Road

Phil. 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

The Road
***
The road is blemished in an odd way
it started with my waking day.
A pebble here, small stone there
tossed about without a care.

My road is darkened, often bleak
I wander the path for all I seek.
Purged from innocent winds I fly
longing to know the reasons why.

Throw in the towel and give it all up
am I worthy to drink from His cup?
He kissed my head, held my hand
gave me strength for which to stand.

The path was lit in a rainbows flare
my eyes soon saw possibilities there.
All from me or blessings from Him,
the road now bright no longer dim.

Sometimes we see no light to guide
False truths, mistrusts we long to hide.
Inner peace is not from this world
nor in agenda of a flag unfurled.

Struggles are often the seeds of growth
I am full owner of them both.
As I stand and knock at pains door
a blossoming blessing rocks my core.

It’s not about our physical sight
that gives us all the will to fight.
Simply put it’s how you revere love,
as muddy waters or a snow-white dove.

I give it my all in withering strife,
the road less traveled becomes my life.
It’s not the road, in which you travel,
It’s that which you sow in rich soil or gravel.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Quotation Saturday

DECISIONS

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
― C.S. Lewis

“Trust your heart if the seas catch fire, live by love though the stars walk backward.”
― E.E. Cummings

“You can't make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
― Michelle Obama

“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.”
― Elbert Hubbard
CHANGE

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Apple Inc.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho
SOUL

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. My soul probably looks like Fred Astaire.”
― Jarod Kintz

“Whatever you are physically...male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy--all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”
― Cassandra Clare

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ Together on a Journey

“The only journey is the one within.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
***
Together on a Journey
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We’ve weathered many storms
rode the raging seas
Together on a journey,
that brought us to our knees.

Sometimes we had a full sail
at times we drifted away;
times we wanted to turn back,
to the sea we gave no sway.

Enduring callous crashing waves
that tossed us to and fro,
Together on a journey
one which we didn’t know.

Light shone round about us
a beacon to behold.
It guided us to safer shores
if all the truth be told.

Forging ahead to safer shores
where heart and soul can mend.
Together on a journey,
to which there is no end.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Quotation Saturday

Picture by Elaine DeBaucher (all rights reserved)

ANGELS

“Saint Anthony said, in his solitude, he sometimes encountered devils who looked like angels, and other times he found angels who looked like devils. When asked how he could tell the difference, the saint said that you can only tell which is which by the way you feel after the creature has left your company.”
~ Elizabeth Gilbert

“He reached forward to cup my cheek, the touch surprising me. "Please understand that no matter what I am or what has happened in the past, I am yours. I am devoted to you above all else, including my own life."
I exhaled after holding my breath for what felt like forever. "That's pretty heavy, Will."
His expression was impassioned, and the backs of his fingers brushed the side of my neck.
"It is a burden I am glad to carry.”
~ Courtney Allison Moulton

“Why does she have wings?'
So she can fly.”
~ Sarah Dessen

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
~ Alexander Pope

BIRTHDAYS

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
~ William Shakespeare

“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.”
~ Larry Lorenzoni

“I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ”
~ Ovid, Metamorphoses

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
~ Maya Angelou

WIND

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair”
~ Kahlil Gibran

“I believe in going with the flow. I don't believe in fighting against the flow. You ride on your river and you go with the tides and the flow. But it has to be your river, not someone else's. Everyone has their own river, and you don't need to swim,float,sail on their's, but you need to be in your own river and you need to go with it. And I don't believe in fighting the wind. You go and you fly with your wind. Let everyone else catch their own gusts of wind and let them fly with their own gusts of wind, and you go and you fly with yours.”
~ C. JoyBell C.

“A sailor chooses the wind that takes the ship from a safe port. Ah, yes, but once you're abroad, as you have seen, winds have a mind of their own. Be careful, Charlotte, careful of the wind you choose.”
~ Avi, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”
~ George R.R. Martin

JOURNEY

“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land.”
~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”
~Heraclitus

“The only journey is the one within.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke

“The month of December is the birthday of many men whom I have journeyed with in my life, my beau, Steven, my sons Christopher and Adam and my father. What a blessing to have such great company!”
~ Joni Zipp

Happy Birthday Christopher, born-died ~ December 2nd,1982, 
~ Steven ~ December 4th, Adam ~ December 27th, My dad ~ December 30th

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Healing through Writing

Healing

Have you had a traumatic background? Have you been to therapist but rarely feel any better than when you began? Have you taken medication and still find no healing with the mental anguish that you’ve had to go through growing up in a dysfunctional life? I’m here to suggest something. Healing through Writing!

We all, each and every one of us, hold our mental instability hidden within us until eventually we blow, unable to handle the stress bearing down on us, like a claustrophobic climbing under the bed. We seek an outlet where we can release the pain and anguish inside, hoping one day to find healing.

Healing without some form of transformation leaves the door open for major setbacks. We might not find a true leap in the right direction away from our negative fixations that bind us to the past. We’re opening ourselves up to reliving it over and over again.

Have you ever heard of the story of two wolves?

Two Wolves: A Native American grandfather is talking to his grandson about how he feels about a tragedy in their village. "I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one." The grandson asks, "Grandfather, which wolf will win the fight in your heart?" The grandfather places his hand on his heart and replies, "The one I feed."

The pain that you don’t feed is going to come back and bite you unless you take it by the ears and rip into it like a feeding wolf. My point is this, if you write about your pain a lot of times you get the emotional healing you need. Through journaling I’ve seen many people find a healing place and went on to become strong upstanding people instead of the victim.

How do you begin the emotional process of revealing your deepest pain?

1) WRITE ABOUT IT – Take a step back, and in your writing, have someone observing a painful scene in your past. Have them tell the story as they see it. This person doesn’t have to have been there, but through them telling the scene, you will gain a different perspective from someone else observing the event you endured.

2) MAKE A LIST – We have positive and negative things that happened in our life. If we can take a traumatic event, list the negatives and counter them with a positive affect. This is a tough one but this will help us see no matter how bad something was in our lives, something positive came from it.

3) JOURNAL – Writing in a journal on a daily basis helps keep the things in the now, in perspective. Using our list from above we can see how much we grow through painful situations.

4) OBSERVANCE – Observe the way you do things today. Do you still hold onto negative thoughts and feelings? Have you tried to wipe them off like snow on your shoulder? Or have you kept them tightly wrapped around you like a warm blanket and carry the negative ions with you in every relationship/situation you have, thus making the circle of pain continue on and on?

5) START ANEW – Many of you know much of the things I’ve endured and recently I took my own advice (rare, huh?) and I stepped back from a negative situation and replaced each aspect with a positive. When I was ignored, I outstretched my hand. When they treated me like a prisoner, I broke free. When they tried to tie me down, I wrote and soared.

The story Rapunzel that I wrote is a perfect example of exactly what I’m saying here. I had a painful experience try to wipe me out in a negative fashion, with negative people rubbing their hands together in pleasure while trying to see me squirm, and this time instead, I smiled through each day, prayed daily for those folks, and made it through a difficult situation, proving my heart and soul had come to a healing place.

Writing is what got me through. For years I’ve used writing as my healing place, but this time the action I took was in a positive motion, and the outcome was my sweet reward. Turning a negative into a positive takes a lot of practice, sometimes years, but the benefits are worth it.

Find your healing place through writing.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quotation Saturday



 The Light of the World

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.”
~ Hermann Hesse

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
~Albert Einstein

 “I consider myself a stained-glass window. And this is how I live my life. Closing no doors and covering no windows; I am the multi-colored glass with light filtering through me, in many different shades. Allowing light to shed and fall into many many hues. My job is not to direct anything, but only to filter into many colors. My answer is destiny and my guide is joy. And there you have me.”
~ C. JoyBell C.


Taking Christ out of Christmas


In recent years I’ve noticed more and more people taking Christ OUT of their lives than they are putting Him IN their lives. I can almost understand people saying it is ‘offensive’ to them when I wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ when they don’t believe in Christ, and I’m not about offending. “Merry Day”, I’ll say, because isn’t holiday really saying Merry HOLYday? So we better not offend if no one thinks of it as a holy day.

Lam. 3: 44 Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.

But you know what, you don’t care about offending me with your ‘happy thoughts’ and ‘wishes’  and ‘good luck’ malarkey, are you? When a person is asking for PRAYER they want and NEED prayer, not happy thoughts, luck and positive thoughts, sent your way. They believe in prayer and it is disrespectful to them when you send them ‘positive thoughts’. Do you care? Of course not, as long as you’re firm in your happy thoughts and positive thinking, you’re good.

Job 22: 27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.

I even see Christian friends, treading on egg shells when it comes to saying the words, “I’ll pray for you,” or “sending prayers and positive thoughts to you” Is that too hard? Do you fear, FEAR sending someone prayer? I would think that sending prayer to the non- believer would be impertinent to your faith, sending prayer has been done since the beginning of time.

Job 15:4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.

“Do not allow yourself to be blinded by fear and anger. Everything is only as it is.”
~ Yuki Urushibara

Then there is the ‘Darkened Thursday’ leading into ‘Black Friday’, it’s as if we just want to be done with THANKSgiving altogether, and run right into the shopping buying spree of the X-mas holiday. I say X-mas, because I’m saddened to see Christmas turn into a sham of a Holyday!

“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
~ Mother Teresa

I’ve been hearing a lot about 12-21-12 here lately. Had to look that one up and see what all the non-pray-ers and happy thought people were in a tissy-fit for. I see that is the day that the Mayan Calendar is coming to an end. So what does that mean? It means to me that Satan is at work distracting us once again. Quite a few have mistaken the true meaning, and are all in a chaotic state of believing the world will end. But hold on to your horses, the world will NOT end, just because an ancient Mayan Calendar ends.

Ps. 22 :27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

If you did any research into the Mayan calendar, you’d see that it just meant that there would be a spiritual renewal, not much unlike the Holy Bible teaches throughout time. No man will know when the end time will come, so please don’t throw yourself into the belief that the world is going to end on December 21, 2012. To some, it is just the beginning, of a new era, a new dawn, and a new spiritual awareness. You might feel it, I might feel it and anyone who is consciously aware of the spirit, Holy Spirit, anything spiritual, might FEEL it. (*might- not set in stone)

Those who believe in nothing will FEEL nothing. (my opinion, which I’m entitled to.)

I am so thankful sometimes I smile outloud, and as hard and long as you might try you could not break my spirit.”
~ Nirrimi Joy Hakanson

“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
~ Black Elk

“A man’s spirit is free, but his pride binds him with chains of suffocation in a prison of his own insecurities”
~ Jeremy Aldana

“I live for those who love me, for those who know me true; for the heaven that smiles above me and awaits my spirit too. For the cause that lacks assistance, for the wrong that needs resistance, for the future in the distance, and the good that I can do.”
~ George Linnaeus Banks

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Taken from FaceBook
***
This is Thanksgiving in America, the day we celebrate with family and give thanks for our blessings throughout the year. While this year I am spending it alone with Adam, no turkey, no hubbub, no family, I still find I am thankful for many things.

Some corporations, while always thinking about money and not family, have made workers work on this day. It’s always about the almighty dollar; and we wonder why God wants to end this world?

This will be my first ever Thanksgiving alone. A time for family is going to be spent with Adam and I preparing for Christmas. The nation commercializes Halloween to the hilt with adult costumes (that should be reserved for the intimacy of a bedroom, I might add) candy, gore, and the celebration of the evil; while Thanksgiving gets overlooked and we segue right into Christmas. (note: Christmas music begins playing in stores the day after Halloween.)

While back home my mother and father will venture off to my brothers, my sister and her husband will go to my brothers also, my niece will go to her mother in laws, and my other brother will relish the time surrounded by his family. Two of my brothers are alone this day.

Stevens family will gather together and celebrate with the turkey and all the trimmings but most of all, each other. I can almost savor the aroma coming from their houses as laughter and chit chat erupts about how great or bad this year has been. Turkey and dressing, pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce; the heat from the oven making many peek outside to feel some kind of breeze and coolness. Ahh, it must be nice to feel a part of a family.

And me, I’ll work my little butt off, with Adam running errands of up and down the stairs, to bring Christmas to life for us. Adam doesn’t mind not having Thanksgiving today, he’s almost 17 and his joy is being home from school. We did have a thrown together turkey meal on Sunday as our thanksgiving, but it just wasn’t the same. No homemade dressing, no mashed potatoes from REAL potatoes, carrots from a CAN, can you believe THAT? But we were together and that is what mattered.

I knew this was going to be a long week, since the almighty dollar calls to the big corporations and franchises. BUT, I am thankful for a great year that has passed by, it seems, quicker than a meteor whizzing through the sky.

As I try not to get depressed over being alone this day, I have to remind myself what a great year this has been and be Thankful for all the blessings God has given us.

The year began with the healing of the infection that was making my body inoperable, by May I was almost myself and the Blessings of my Church family did not go unnoticed!

While Steven, after being blind for three years, had his sight restored in Oct. 2011, some time in March, he had an infection. Many backbreaking trips to Omaha, a tire blowout; we again were delivered blessings in way of new tires, and the healing of the infection.

In July, Steven had his driver’s license back in his hand. Limited to a 40-mile radius, it could have saddened us, but instead we looked up and the blessing was that he found a job within the forty-mile radius. He cannot drive at night (another restriction) but the place he works for is willing to work around that. (they’re open 24 hrs. a day, so this was good)

While I sit here today, feeling sorry for myself, I’m reminded of all the blessings we’ve had this year, and my spirits lift and I’m Grateful to my God for everything. This is why I’ll skip right over Thanksgiving and head into a celebration of Christmas. I’m also reminded that every Day I’m Thankful, and need no one day set aside to celebrate it. Now the whole family thing is over rated and my being alone with no family this day hurts. BUT I am THANKFUL they are alive and healthy, somewhat healthy, but they are alive to celebrate this day and give THANKS!


More to be thankful for this day, from my FaithWriters family:

Lord we lift up Joni to you.
 
We have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, We do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in our prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.  Ephesians 1:15-19
We pray for great blessing, wisdom and protection for Joni and a sense of your overwhelming presence and love. That they would know for certain in their hearts that they have been forgiven and released from any shame and guilt. Help Joni to see who they are in Christ. Place a strong desire in Joni to know more about you and a hunger for your Word. Open the doors for Joni that lead to you and close the doors that lead away. In Jesus mighty name we pray.

Amem

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being the Voice Among Many

One Voice among many
Gibbon, Nebraska
***

Yesterday we talked about being unique; today I want to talk to you about being a Voice. You say you’re popular among your writing friends. They swoon at your feet and are a welcome relief in the struggle to get to the top of your writing journey. That’s all well and good, but what does your voice sound like to strangers who’ve never met you.

Say a publisher is reading your work. They don’t know you from Adam so they are not in the popular crowd that you’re so used to having lifting you up and stroking your ego. They are strangers and theirs are the eyes that will read/publish your cherished work.

Like I had said, being popular is all well and good in your little clique of writers, but it isn’t going to help you among total strangers who are going to take a chance on you. Without a voice, you will get nowhere.

1) Query – Your query letter is going to be your voice to someone outside the familiar territory of your group of friends. Read the guidelines and follow them. They don’t want to know how to throw pies at someone, or hear your favorite joke, they want to hear about your story, and that is it!

2) Presentation – The way you present yourself is going to be the step you stand on. This isn’t the time to put on your funny hat and think that a magazine publisher/editor is your bud. Be professional. I tried to teach this to students and they pointed out quickly that the classroom is for fun and silly. I just wanted them to be prepared for the seriousness of writing and submitting. By practicing being a professional, maybe you’ll carry that with you when you need it the most. Point taken: classroom = fun and silly learning, Professionalism for the real world.

3) Reasons for wanting your work – You’ll give them the reason they are going to want to publish your work. Save your life story for the novel. This is not the place to think you are rubbing elbows. If you haven’t found your voice by now, this is not the place to begin looking for it. Give them a heartfelt, down to earth, PROFESSIONAL reason. What? You didn’t learn how to be professional? Should have listened to me the first time.

4) Waiting – This is the hardest part, even harder than the submitting of your work. The waiting is where you’ll more than likely cast self-doubt and second-guess, look at your work again and find fault, see errors and a ton of other negative things. Don’t do it. As hard as it may seem, don’t fret over your submission and being accepted. It may take months before you hear from someone, so take this time to write new material.

5)  Rejection – Oh dear, I mentioned the most horrendous word to a writer, the dreaded rejection letter. Hey, it happens more times than not, but that is not any reason to give up. This is the very reason you send out simultaneous submissions (sim subs); when all ten come back with rejection letters, refine your search and send them to ten more prospective mags/pubs/editors.


Now your voice is being read AND heard, so what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Be a UNIQUE Writer

Moody Gardens- Houston Texas


In writing, there are things that will separate your own writing from the millions of others out there in this business of writing and that is your uniqueness. If we jump into a pool of swimming sharks and swim and feed like them, we are only going to become shark bait.

Now if you grab hold of the idea in your head, swim differently, create your personality, find your voice, and relay it to the world, all the other fish will swim over and want to read of the Eighth Wonder of the World and that is YOU and your writing.

What is going to make you stand out from all of the others? Your personality and the ability to put yourself into words. If you’re popular among your friends in the writing community, more than likely it is an online course or workshop that you’ve become familiar with and have conveyed to them a likable personality.

Not everyone with a thriving personality trait is a writer, but more times than not, they are good writers who stand out in a crowd of so-so writers. Why? Because they have made a presentation of themselves via words, and people are drawn like bees to honey, to a positive personality.

Negative begets negative and positive begets positive. I have seen some negatively influential folk in my day who wear a mask of positive but underneath lurks the venom of a snake. I wonder why they are not published authors by now? Hmm… negative is drawn to negative.

Being unique means more than looking good to other people. A mask can always be seen through, and pity is not a form working towards drawing in a positive. Me, I try to steer clear and treat the negative folks as if they have the plague, so as not to bring me down. In doing such, I’ve lost quite a few ‘so-called’ friends, but in turn, as I turned my world into a positive influx generated by the human psyche, I drew in some positive influences into my life, and wouldn’t change things for the world.

As a writer, you need to define what draws you to other writers. I prefer Tolkien and Koontz as well as Stephen King along with Shirley Jackson. What draws me to those writers is their style. Their writing style speaks volumes as to their personality.

A lot of times when you pick up a book, read a chapter and put it down, a writers personality has leaked through and you felt that the rest of the book was just a washout. This is not the case all of the time, but most of the time.

A unique personality does not mean you’re going to win a popularity contest when one comes around, but a unique voice among the crowd will be a standout and just might be the key for you to go from being a writer, to becoming a published author.

1)     Be yourself – the most important aspect of writing
2)     Be your own person – Don’t try to mimic others.
3)     Frown upon the negative – Do away with the negative people, and you’ll visually capture change.
4)     Accentuate the positive – Befriending the positive nature, will bring about a positive outcome.
5)     BE UNIQUE among the mundane – There are so many out there trying to be like someone else. Be unique among the hum drum, savor the taste of being YOU!

Book Bites:
The Writer's Rules: The Power Of Positive Prose--howTo Create It And Get It Published – Helen G. Brown

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why is writing NOT easy?

 ^ Concordia, Ks. Convent ^

Why do people wrongly think that becoming a writer will be easy? Writing is hard work!

In this strange chaotic world, there are so many writers out there trying to break out of the writing world into the published author world. Many think they can just join a writing site and instantly become a writer and that no effort is needed to becoming a published author.


They are sadly mistaken. I’ve seen over the years people who just think they can become a writer by either retiring or giving up their job in say, in the military, doctors who felt the writing bug all their lives, nurses who on the side embark on the writing bug journey all the way down to the stay at home mom who needs time to kill so they use writing as an outlet.

I know quite a few who have succeeded and many who have failed and left the writing world behind to sit on the Social Networks or in chat rooms to feel as if they are still connected to writers in some way, any way. I even know a few who write, just for the love of writing, no monetary gain in sight, they just love writing.

Another misconception is that they are going to become a writer making mega-bucks and are soon slapped upside the head with the reality, that writing is WORK, not a walk in the park leisure stroll where you write, publish, make tons of money, and treat the family to trips to Disney World.

I’m going to lay out some tips for you as a writer, on becoming a writer and achieving the goal you’ve set for yourself. Always remember, writing is WORK, treat it as such and only then will you reap any rewards.

1) PLAN – For starters, you have to set a realistic plan. You’ll be writing for thousands of hours and you need to be willing to accept that it is going to take years and years before there is a payoff. (Sometimes sooner if you WORK at it.)

2) STRATEGY – You have to have a strategy. Like your plan, you have to be willing to have a strategy that will make those thousands of hours payoff in the end. I’ve seen success stories, so I know it can be done.

3) SET GOALS – You’ve made your mind up that you want to be a writer, now what? Set an achievable goal. One you can reach. Don’t write a novel and give up on offering it to a publisher. I’ve seen many who pays hundreds of dollars to self-publish thinking their work is THAT good, and when it fails, they too feel like a failure as a writer. Although, I’ve seen some who self-publish and keep on doing it because even one copy of their sold novel is better than a sitting-in-the-drawer novel. Whatever your goal – achieve it!

4) FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED – Writing is all well and good, but unfinished novels are worthless. They sit collecting dust, hanging by a thread on the blanket you’ve never finished knitting. Do you want a blanket that’s only half way completed? No warmth there, is it?

5) SUBMIT -- Send your work out on a consistent basis, each week, each month, whatever you’re comfortable with. Follow the guidelines! One word over the wordcount can get you tossed out, so remember, you’re no exception to their rules. They make the rules, you follow them, strictly!

6) KEEP TRACK – You’ll need to keep a folder of all the markets and publishers you’ve sent your work to. Keep it organized so you know where just to look when they come accepting! Make sure you tell them it is a sim. sub., meaning simultaneous submission, and notify each when it has been accepted.

7) MARKET YOURSELF – Whether on Facebook or Twitter, you need a marketing strategy as well. Sell your personality by telling friends, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow writers that you’ve submitted and await their response. This will get evryone excited for you, even if you get rejected, they’ll be your support to keep you going full steam ahead.

8) PROMOTE – Promote yourself, not just to writers because that to me is like Pespi selling Coke. Promoting to fellow writers is good, but they, most of the time are not your targeted buyers. Promote yourself to targeted buyers. Now if you’ve written a book to aide writers, then by all means, promote to the writing community. But a sci-fi novel is not going to be swallowed up by the writing community in which you’ve been a part of for years.

9) WRITE – Continue writing, (not over-editing) even if you’re getting no reward as in money. If you don’t keep pushing the pen, or keys on the keyboard, you will surely dry up and become a frozen lizard stuck to a pane of glass. All dried up with nowhere to go.

10) BREATHE – Take time to breathe, drinking in your reality as you pursue your dream. This is where you’ll continue to find the inspiration you need to keep on going. To become a writer, you need to WORK at becoming a writer. Nothing else will suffice in this dog-eat-dog-world.

So what are you waiting for? GET WRITING!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Poetry Sunday ~ I'm Thankful...

Pss. 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 
***
I’m thankful….

I’m thankful for that one warm ray,
That shines on me to lighten my day.
I’m thankful for the dewy grass
That tickles my toes as I pass.
I’m thankful for the fragrant air,
That wafts on by without a care.
I’m thankful for the torrents of rain
That soaks my skin; releases my pain.
I’m thankful for the budding flower.
That blooms in glory, a scented shower.
I’m thankful for every timeless season,
new bark; new bough with endless reason.
I’m thankful for all the joyful bliss,
that graces my cheek as a gentle kiss.
I’m thankful for being allowed too touch,
that one lost soul whom needs so much.
I’m thankful for every little thing,
that has no worth, but smiles they bring.
I’m thankful for the minuscule,
for that is where my soul can rule.
I’m thankful for all my eyes can see,
breathless beauty from God to me.
I’m thankful for all of this and more,
The love of life, the chance to soar!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Quotation Saturday ~ Thankfulness


FAITH
“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.”
~ Elbert Hubbard

“Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want. It is the belief that God will do what is right.”
~ Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
~ Søren Kierkegaard

“The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”
~ J.M. Barrie, The Little White Bird

GRATITUDE
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”
~ Seneca

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
~ Epicurus

“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
~ Maya Angelou

THANKFULNESS

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
~ Holy Bible: King James Version

“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher

“The gift was not large as money goes, and my need was not great, but the spirit of the gift is beyond price and leaves me blessed and in debt.”
~ Robert Fulghum

“I've started to look at life differently. When you're thanking God for every little you - every meal, every time you wake up, every time you take a sip of water - you can't help but be more thankful for life itself, for the unlikely and miraculous fact that you exist at all.”
~ A.J. Jacobs

May every day you sit down together as a family be a day of Thanksgiving. Don’t allow one day a year to define your THANKFULNESS.
~ Joni Zipp

Sunshine Award

Sunshine award