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Sunshine honeys the rain-washed oaks. Clover patches huddle among blades of rye grass. The breeze whirls across varied shades of green, stirring the earth to behold the infinite blue marvel overhead. Jasmine blooms near the mailbox, drawing brilliant hummingbirds to visit my lawn. I search the landscape, but fail to pinpoint the hue I seek. Nature’s kaleidoscope erupts before me on this magnificent spring afternoon. Yet, all the colors in the world fall short of a ray of hope.

Sparrows twitter alongside the doves’ cooing. A tree frog resounds from the puddle near my doorstep. Wind-strummed reeds complete the melody. Yet, all the world’s harmony falls short of  the song of hope.

Sourdough bread delights my palate. Creamy chai mingles spices across my tongue and warms me to the core. Bits of chocolate swimming in cream whirl me into a decadent food buzz. Yet, all the world’s culinary treats cannot satisfy my hunger for the flavor of hope.

I miss the brush of a baby’s cheek against my face. Orchid petals slide against the tip of my nose,reminiscent of that infant silkiness. I savor the grip of a friend’s hand and cherish a lingering hug. Yet, all the world’s most precious touches cannot compare with the embrace of hope.

Resurrected souls bear witness to a broader spectrum of color, music, and comprehensive joy than our experience on earth permits. Scripture promises God’s glory illuminates heaven, so we will require no other light than His presence. Creation’s majesty remains a mere echo of the true satisfaction for which our spirits yearn. 

I long for hope, but won’t find it in the world around me. I must search beyond the tangible to attain true fulfillment. The Creator sculpted these surroundings as arrows to point my gaze toward Him, after all.

 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Author Kat Heckenbach’s brilliant writing has appeared in a vast scope of genres, ranging from Sunday school papers to enchanting fantasy novels. I’m eager to get my hands on her next Toch Island novel, as the first two proved extraordinary. She also maintains a blog at  http://www.katheckenbach.com/, which I encourage you to check out.  When she invited me to join her in a blog hop about the writing process, I couldn’t wait.

Today’s blog diverges from my devotional content, but feel free to read other posts or join my round-robin project at scenescaping. Since we have specific questions to address, I’ll set today’s post in an interview pattern.

1)      What am I working on?
In addition to a few flash fiction pieces and articles, I’m working on a young adult fiction series about a group of foster kids on an inside-out venture into the supernatural.
 
2)       How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve combined common teen struggles, such as bullying and relationships, with battles against sinister forces in the unseen realm. These novels also grapple with abuse, neglect, and social injustice.
 
3)       Why do I write what I do?
Magical tales relate to our inner search for the realm of spiritual power. I hope to offer readers a glimpse of the invisible reality whispering into their hearts’ musings. As a counselor, I would also like to strengthen readers to address personal challenges.
 
4)       How does your writing process work?

 I wrestle with my lines in the first draft, so writing takes me a bit longer than most. My Word Weavers group helps edit my work with fresh eyes. Sometimes I hire an editor to provide an extra layer of polish. I’m carving more discipline into my schedule, and hope to increase the volume of work I can produce.

Ready to hop onto a fresh site? Let me introduce you to the following bloggers:
 
Edwina Perkins, former president of Orlando Word Weavers, writes a charming and insightful blog at http://theperkinspen.blogspot.com/. 
 
Jennifer Campbell lives out her calling, pursuing music ministry while maintaining two blogs, http://www.jennifersjourneys.net/ and http://jenniferjoycampbell.blogspot.com/.
 
Jenni Stahlmann and Jodi Hagaman share a parenting ministry, which includes a radio show and a blog. Check out great tips and resources at http://www.jenniandjody.com/the-blog/.

 

Leprechaun impostors frolic along beer-scented streets. Shamrock patterned underwear hangs in the local department stores. Party favors honor the shamrock as a lucky charm, rather than a symbol explaining the Holy Trinity. Tavern patrons cheer St. Paddy without praising his evangelism. Most cities celebrate St. Patrick’s day with little regard for the saint or his legacy.

Despite its lighthearted intent, one holiday tradition reflects the influence of a saint. Authorities load small boats with special equipment. The sanctioned crafts launch a vibrant green dye into the water. Wherever they go, the river transforms into a beautiful new flow of color.

The Lord commissioned and equipped an escaped slave to transform the spiritual environment of a nation. Saint Patrick delivered the gospel to Ireland, leaving a glimmer of hope across the nation’s landscape. He blended new meaning into existing symbols. Wherever he went, vibrant news of eternal life sprang up alongside his path.

Scripture refers to all Christ-followers as saints. Equipped with the truth and anointed with the Spirit, we each have an opportunity to change the spiritual environment wherever we go. The culture around us starves for the truth, and a few small vessels can transform the world.

Will you celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with me by greening a bit of the river around us?

“This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah” (Ephesians 3:8).

“I have become its servant, according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to His saints. God wanted to make known among the Gentiles the glorious wealth of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-27).

Spring Ahead
Rays linger over the horizon to provide evening strolls and extra kickball innings. Leaves unfurl their fresh limeade colors in celebration of the season. Ashes swept from the hearth, a fresh home stands ready to welcome Easter.
The dawn of Christ’s resurrection serves as a beacon during our Lenten season. Our reflection upon the Lord’s sacrifice culminates on Good Friday. We pause to consider the chill of death before our praise for new life rises on Sunday morning.
Celebration should not settle onto that morning, nor should it rest with our thoughts at the end of that day. Easter offers more than a day’s pause to rejoice. Well positioned in the season of new birth, Resurrection Sunday offers the impetus to spring ahead with joy.
Let’s embrace the propelling effect of eternal life and burst forth. We can wear the brilliant color of His glory for more than a season. Why not decorate our homes with hope, light our neighborhoods with love, and accessorize with joy all year long?

I opened the door to greet the brilliant morning. Fair weather clouds glistened in the sunlight. Sparrows twittered overhead. An unfamiliar odor tainted the spring breeze. As I ventured onto the porch, my sandal crunched on the welcome mat. I gasped and retracted my foot from the wingtip of a dead parakeet.

Silly Cat poked his striped head around the bush and mewed. A purr underscored his stride toward me. He raised his head, as if expecting affection for the offering he pilfered from the neighbor’s child.

Yeah, not so much.

I scowled at the rancid corpse and covered my nose. Silly Cat’s ‘gift’ entailed a nasty cleanup job. Ugh.

As I consider the season of Lent, I feel compelled to examine my own offering.  I’m searching my heart and spirit for a fragrant blessing to present. I don’t want to create stench in the Lord’s nostrils or cost Him a nasty cleanup in the wake of my halfhearted devotion. Will I honor the Lord’s sacrifice, or steal some convenient token?

Traditional Lenten celebrations include fasts. For some, the discipline of fasting cultivates honor and submission. Others choose to add a spiritual discipline to their daily routine. The fasts and service done by my neighbors might sing with their hearts. Rather than stealing a random songbird, I must determine which offering best reflects a sacrifice from my heart. 

I must also ensure that I honor Lent in a way that increases my submission to God and love for my neighbors. A sacrifice that detracts from God’s calling or injures others will stink to high heaven. I’m good at sticking to my list, so it would be all too easy to hyper-focus on my personal laws and shrug off the needs of His precious children, saying, “I can’t…because I’m doing this for Lent.” I don’t want to cause Him to drag out the divine shovel to fix my mess.

My prayers today will revolve around Ephesians 5:1-3, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” I trust the Lord to inspire a fresh and pleasing way for me to worship Him this season.

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