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Yellow and white blooms wilted under the blood moon. Their papery remnants clung to the vine until autumn’s breeze tore them away. For a day or two, the evidence of fallen beauty littered gardens across the countryside. Within the base of those flowers who had used their season to pollinate beyond their temporary moment of loveliness, something more substantial had developed.

Lacy petal-cardigans slipped away to reveal which ones carried deep-colored treasures. Gourds expanded from the places once held for them by passing flowers. Skins thickened and bubbled with warts and valleys, guarding the prize within. Stout and solid, their weight anchored them more and more in steadfast positions. Each tough vine-dweller grew while patiently awaiting the harvest.

One must look deep to find the gourd’s riches. Beyond the tough, uneven skin lies a wealth of nourishment. At its life’s end, the harvester breaks open the body to feed his family with vitamins, minerals, seed protein, and fiber. Extra seeds and inedible matter provide an entire garden from one individual hull. He wastes nothing from the pollinated vinedweller’s life.

I gaze across the pumpkin patches and butternut squash displays, considering the investments of my time dwelling on Christ’s vine. Have I pollinated the inner station of my soul so it will bear lasting fruit for generations to come? What part of my life will feed the family of God after my body’s earth season has ended? How much have temporary things distracted me from investing in the eternal?

Lord, help me stay focused on things of lasting value instead of the less important matters which pass away. Pollinate my spirit and expand my heart. Let my thoughts grow solid and steadfast in Your Truth, impenetrable to the pestilence of toxic attitudes. Cultivate rich nourishment within me until I am beautiful in Your sight, regardless of how I appear to passers by. Make me gourdgeous to You, Lord. Thank You, for planting me in Your garden.

What about you? Ready to grow gourdgeous on His vine?

 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . .I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. . .This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:1-8

“I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. . .Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” – Phil.1:20-27

“if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.” – Phil. 2:17

Bookshelf

Welcome to my writing loft.

Feel free to glance through the archives and check out a few devotional posts. I’m taking a break from the norm to participate in a blog tour. This event invites readers onto a cross-country cybertrain, in which they meet new authors and taste fresh posts. Grab a cup of tea or your favorite latté as I introduce you to my friends. I’m honored to know these brilliant and lovely women, and hope you will be, too.

Meet Bethany Jett

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I enjoyed meeting Bethany at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference this year. She’s a beautiful, sweet spirit with a heart for teens. I leaped at her invitation to join the blog tour, and am excited to introduce her to you.

National speaker Bethany Jett is an award-winning writer, whose first attempt at writing a book proposal landed her Writer of the Year at the 2012 Florida Christian Writers Conference, a contract with the MacGregor Literary Agency, and a publishing deal. Her book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After was a finalist for the 2014 Selah Awards.

Bethany is a video blogger for ChristianMingle.com, and has been interviewed on radio stations across the US, as well as internationally. She is a featured columnist with Choose NOW Ministries, and also writes for Charisma, Sisterhood,Sonoma Christian Home, ChristianityToday.com, SpiritLedWoman.com, Crosswalk.com, along with other magazines and sites. Bethany is also an editor for Splickety magazine.

When she’s not writing or speaking, Bethany enjoys cooking for her husband and three little boys. She coaches cheerleading, loves spending time with the kids in their youth group, and roots for her favorite football team, the Florida State Seminoles.

Bethany blogs on girly topics, godly perspective at BethanyJett.com.

 

My Interview

As part of the Writer’s World Blog Tour, I have been asked to answer a few questions about my writing process.

What are you working on now?

I’m crafting a supernatural suspense series for young adults. Alicia Godfrey, a fifteen year-old abused orphan, opens a portal into the unseen realm when her mental escape game becomes more than she’d ever dreamed. Her words carry Alicia and her foster siblings into the spiritual realm. Inner gifts emerge and transform the kids’ outward appearances. Demonic creatures slither from the walls, shadow their peers, and hunt them in the dark forest behind their home. The characters in Inscaping discover the spiritual reality which surrounds and indwells them in their ordinary world.

The first draft of its sequel, Wordscaping, is near completion. When taking occasional breaks from my novel, I enjoy writing short stories and flash fiction with a spark of supernatural flavor.

 How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Empathy runs deep, an inextricable part of my nature long before I became a counselor.  I love the poetry of sensory images, but an emotional connection with readers is far more important to me.  Stories can carry us along the rough pathway between chilling shadows and the dawn of hope.

Why do you write what you do?

An inner craving for magic niggles at our minds, tugs at our souls. Long after childlike wonder fades, the mysteries of things unseen continue to clamor at the gates of our imaginations.  We yearn for a power far greater than magic. Adonai alone empowers the human soul with supernatural potential. No sorcery can compete with the awesome display of power we see when the Holy Spirit shows up.  Scripture tells us that an epic battle rages in the air around and within us. I hope to alert readers of the unseen forces so they might seek true power and thereby prevail.

How does your writing process work?

My professional and personal schedules vary from week to week, so establishing consistent writing time remains a challenge. When I have a block of time available, I pray about which part of writing I should tackle. Blogging, articles, and short stories work best for short intervals or time slots prone to interruptions.

With regard to the novel writing process, I prefer an organic flow of writing to the structured plot diagram. As the tale unfolds before me, I remain engaged. Characters and plot twists surprise me sometimes. I envision a few plot points along the curve and at the finish line, but the story would bore me if I had every detail planned in advance.

Dreams and daydreams contribute valuable content to my work. Sometimes my prayer time veers into storyweaving. Since the Lord called me to write, I feel peace about obtaining creative tidbits during meditation with Him.

I edit a little as I write. I don’t encourage other writers to adopt this sluggish habit, but I can’t seem to help it. My Word Weavers group offers additional insight with content and line edits. I cannot recommend such critique groups highly enough. At a novel’s completion, I plan to hire a professional editor before publication.

 

Sweet Taste of Fresh Posts

I relish the opportunity to carry a magnificent dessert to my guests. Chocolate brownie cheesecake frosted with ganache marks the party’s defining moment, wouldn’t you say? I’m thrilled to offer you a scrumptious opportunity to meet three of my dear writer friends. Each will post their interview and introduce two new authors on their sites next week. We’re only supposed to showcase two blogs, but I couldn’t resist plating you an extra-large portion. How often do we get to indulge in a decadent treat with no calories, after all?

DSC_0776Leah DiPascal is a speaker, Bible teacher and writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. Her focus in ministry is to help women engageunderstand, and apply God’s Word to their hectic and oftentimes stressful lives. Leah serves on the editing and writing Team of Proverbs 31 Ministries for their Encouragement For Today Devotionals which reaches over 700,000+ people each day. She is a contributing devotional writer for the NIV Real-Life Devotional Bible for Woman and Your Life Still Counts which will be released in October 2014. Leah is a contributing blogger for Bible Gateway’s Blogger Grid  and Life Notes Café. She holds a Bachelor of Theology Degree and a Master of Divinity Degree from Tabernacle Bible College and Seminary. With over 19 years of experience in women’s ministry, Leah has served in leadership roles through Moms In Prayer International, Stonecroft Ministries, Community Bible Study International, Women of Destiny and Proverbs 31 Ministries. Leah inspires women weekly on her blog, Whispers for the Soul. You can connect with Leah there and through these social media sites: FacebookTwitter or Pinterest. Leah and her husband, Keith, live in North Carolina where they fulfill their most important calling as parents to their teenage sons, Brody and Carson.

This week Leah is giving away a signed copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, The Best Yes, which was just released last month and is already on the New York Times Bestsellers List! Visit her blog and sign up for the drawing today.

 

Andy Lee2Andy Lee is an award winning writer, inspirational speaker and mentor for Word Weavers International. She’s ministered to women for over twenty years through Bible study, retreats and conferences, and just being a friend.

She is a self-proclaimed Bible Study geek who loves teaching people how to dig into the ancient biblical languages to discover the breath inside. She’s passionate about helping others find their value in Jesus, their purpose beyond today, and camaraderie with the biblical saints. Jesus always called the unqualified, the socially challenged, and most unlikely to succeed—so we fit right in! She has written a Bible study on Ruth that will be in stores fall of 2015, published by AMG.

Andy believes that life is better with chocolate, geraniums, the ocean, and good friends. She’s an Oklahoma girl who loves living on the coast of North Carolina with her sweetheart of twenty-four years and their three almost-all-grown-up children. You can read her authentic, grace-filled words about finding purpose beyond today at www.wordsbyandylee.comwww.christiandevotions.us, and in a collection of 50 faith stories, Divine Moments.

 

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On her blog, www.beautybattlefield.blogspot.com, Wendy Herrmann Smith aims to help women fight the culture’s lies with the truth of God. One of her top priorities is to protect her children from the media’s harmful messages. Wendy and her husband got their son the old-fashioned way and adopted their daughter from China. She’s written 13,000 words towards a book about the adoption. Her critique group says, “We like your book, but you were made to write articles.” So she keeps cranking out the shorter form, whether it’s about adoption, beauty, or seeing the femininity of God in Scripture.
In seminary, she learned alongside many male students and was probably the first to graduate from the school with a Masters of Divinity while pregnant. She can’t decide which was more harrowing — eighteen hours of labor or the fourteen-hour flight from Beijing with a screaming baby.
Wendy says, bring it on. What are you going to write unless you have great anecdotes? Find her stories on her blog and at the Christians for Biblical Equality website where she is a guest blogger. (www.cbeinternational.org)

 

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