I feel like I have been struggling for perspective these last couple of weeks. I have been managing to keep up with blogging just about everyday with my Digging Deeper Devotionals, but somewhere along the way I felt like I lost my writer self. He got swallowed up by my pastor self. Honestly what I know needs to happen is these two fellows have to figure out how to harmonize within my soul and become one writer-pastor-self or one pastor-writer-self.
This week I have pulled away from the church in order to work on my writing. I have come to a place in the woods called the Grain Bin.
This is a writing and praying break away and a restoration of the slow, constant, intentional rhythm I have been trying so desperately to keep.
As I sit down to my afternoon tea and writing session, I am warming up with a writer’s exercise called SHARE YOUR WORLD. This is a challenge I have been participating in for years and it is a good way to get the juices flowing and even to restore the juices when a three hour morning writing session has sucked the juices away.
Melanie has asked her weekly questions and I have answered them below. So read on and then hop on over to Sparks From A Combustible Mind by using either of the underlined links to see how others answered.
Here we go:
What activity instantly calms you?
There are many: Prayer, getting alone in a grain bin, writing, sipping coffee while looking at water….
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve done lately?
Renting a Grain Bin in the middle of nowhere and coming here to do nothing other than write and pray. I think I need to do this more often.
If people receive a purple heart for bravery, what would other color hearts represent? (Example yellow heart = cowardice)
Green Heart= Life Giving Heart
Orange Heart= Heart Of Fire
Red Heart= Heart Of Healing
White Heart= Heart Of Purity
What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done or witnessed someone else do?
I think one of the bravest things I have ever witnessed someone do is to watch my sister go as a single woman to a foreign country to be a missionary.
GRATITUDE SECTION (Always optional)
How do you show gratitude to the people you respect?
What a powerful question! Again I think there are lots of answers to this one: By thanking them, by giving them preferential treatment, by giving them time.
I have left the Vicarage in Amanda and Brenda’s capable hands for the week, and I have headed into the Berkshires and the Catskills for a writing and praying breakaway
What do you think about my little writing chapel?
Those of you who follow me closely know that at the beginning of this year I made some changes to my artistic and blogging priorities. Over that last few years I have really been consumed with the idea of building an audience.
Someone told me that was important for the writing portion of my life. Platform Size! Platform Size! Platform Size!
For some reason I listened and it has taken God a while to break through that false word….
Last year I was posting at least four times a day and I was garnering several hundred hits a day….but it felt really empty. I was getting more hits than ever and loads of likes but I felt most of the time like I was running alone.
In my prayer time at the end of 2020 God showed me that none of my work is done for the size of my audience. It is done for the glory of God and to build a community that brings honor to Him.
Community does not depend on numbers or on likes. It depends on relationship, collaboaration and communication among other things.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE IMPORTANT BUILDING BLOCKS OF COMMUNITY IN YOUR MIND?
So I had to shift the way I blog, and that has further shifted the way I live. If it is about relationship, collaboration and communication then it cannot be about hits and likes. It has to be about conversations…. and sooooo……
I have had to slow things down. I have had to post less, and post more conversationally. I have had to start reading more with the mindset of finding those posts I want to comment on.
It takes a little longer now to blog this way. I get less hits….fewer likes…..fewer bloggers are reading my work….but more of you who do read are commenting and I am entering into some interesting conversations and some have even begun to private message me to have side conversations over things we have discovered in common.
I am not saying the way I did it before was wrong and now I am doing it right. I am saying what I was focusing on before was not working FOR ME. What I am doing now is working FOR ME. In the end this is about ministry, artistry and community. I fell like I lost sight of that for a while.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU ABOUT HOW YOUR BLOGGING HAS CHANGED OVER TIME.
Those of you who have followed me for any length of time, know that I have been toying with the writing of a book for several years now.
I actually started the publishing process a few years back and had a contract signed with a publishing company. Then life got in the way and the dream died.
But here’s the thing, I am a big believer in dead things coming back to life!
This year the book came out of its proverbial grave clothes and now it is coming out of the shadows. I finished Pork Chops With the Sentinels Of Azatan just before Christmas!
Yes Ray it is done (Ray is the guy who keeps asking me about it)!!!!
I have contacted my publisher and they have released me from my contract as they are no longer in a position to be able to publish me. This frees me up to take the next steps towards publication of my first novel!
So here I am posting the first steps on this journey to the first completed work by J. Lillie. 2021 is the year folks! Here we go!!!
This post is created in response to RONOVAN’S WEEKLY HAIKU CHALLENGE #317 REGARDING EYE AND LIGHT.
THE SIGHT WITHIN
Everyone says it’s going to be all right. We’ll soon be back to normal…or at least a new normal. My soul sees something different. It ministers in images, like the old man sitting on the corner by the Cumberland Farms, mask down, waiting, just waiting for someone with “the bug” to walk by and breathe on him.
The light is fading.
It splashes across the sky
This post is created in response to MILLIE THOM’S WEEKLY WORD CHALLENGE- WORDS BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER D.
The word I have chosen for today’s piece of flash fiction is the word…
having or showing tenacity and grim persistence.”success required dogged determination”
- 1.follow (someone or their movements) closely and persistently.”photographers seemed to dog her every step”Similar:pursuefollowstalktracktrailshadowhoundplaguebesetbedevilassailbeleaguerblighttroubletormenthaunttail
- (of a problem) cause continual trouble for.”their finance committee has been dogged by controversy”
- 2.INFORMAL•NORTH AMERICANact lazily; fail to try one’s hardest.
- 3.grip (something) with a mechanical device.”she has dogged the door shut”
HERE IS MY ATTEMPT:
I sipped my coffee calmly and turned the page of the New York times. I took a deep calming breath and lifted the paper in front of me as if the story I had just turned to was the most interesting thing in my world at the moment.
I crossed my legs and swiveled ever so slightly to the left so that I could get a better view across the top of my paper at the alley across from the cafe. The man who had dogged my steps for half a week was back. I had done my best to lose him three times, but this private dick was better than the last two Kramer had sent to spy me out. Well, so much the worse for him. I had things to do and a message to deliver, a message to a contact whose cover must be protected at all costs.
I folded my paper and looked at my watch as if I was late. I signalled the waiter and paid him directly leaving without the change. I grabbed my coat and left the open air cafe. I pulled my driving gloves out of my pocket and slung my London Fog over my arm as I dashed across the street and down a side alley adjacent to my watcher.
As I expected he followed. I had to admit he was good. He kept what would normally be a very cautious distance for a tail. Anyone less paranoid would have missed him entirely.
I ducked around the corner. It was such a shame to waste such talent.I would have preferred another route, but the man had made his choice.
He was surprised when he turned the corner and met my silenced revolver. I pulled his body into the darkness of a doorway and looked about to make sure I had not been noticed.
The way was clear.
Before I left I turned to the dead man and said, “That is what happens to gum on the bottom of my shoe my friend. Tell the others to stay out of my way.”
This post is created in response RONOVAN’S WEEKLY HAIKU CHALLENGE BREAK GLASS
Life’s like a prism
Making beauty from ashes
Rainbows through smashed glass
Passion is the light
Expelling halos of night.
A Shepherd’s rag-torch
It sends the wolves careening,
Maddened into the shadows.