Thursday, November 22, 2012

Offering up Thanksgiving

Today, for Thanksgiving, I am focusing on Hebrews 12:28-29
 (two different translations).


" 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.”
Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)

I like to take walks on my lunch breaks at work. I often walk alone, which gives me time to pray and praise God. I sing (in my head) praise songs and I talk to God about what's on my heart. I am so thankful to have found Jesus. He helps me get through everything, from little things to big, and I know that I will have an eternity in heaven with him someday.

"Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. 
He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, 
and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!"
Hebrews 12:28-29 (The Message) 

I thank God for his active role in my life. He is constantly working on me to become more like Christ. I am constantly amazed and relieved when God gives me guidance through prayer and scripture for what I am to do in my life. I thank him for refining me, even when it is painful.

Is there a scripture of Thanksgiving that is speaking to you today? 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Writing Prompt: Cup of Cocoa

How about a writing prompt? 
What can you write in five minutes?

cup of cocoa

Ready, set, go!

Photo by Toby Hamsher, 2012

Here's mine:

a cup of cocoa 
warms the body

a cold winter's day
doesn't seem so bleak

breathe in the steam
taste the chocolate

wipe the topping
off of your nose

and smile 

And yes, that's me in our local Christmas parade. Our church float's theme was 
"Cocoa warms your body, but Jesus came to warm your heart!"

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Message for Newbie Bloggers

Learning new things can be scary. Learning to blog, like anything else, has a learning curve. My best recommendation is to take is slow. Take baby steps. And know…You will NOT blow up the Internet if you click on the wrong thing. I have not heard of a single case where this happened, but if you become the first, please let me know. ;0)

Why am I posting about newbie bloggers? Well, last night my writing group hosted a class to help newbies get started. We had five wonderful ladies come, laptops in tow. We started off by asking them some questions. (Paraphrased answers below)

What do you already know about blogging?

  • It’s like journaling.
  • It is a form of publishing with a wide audience.
  • There are different blog themes (writing, cooking, mothering, etc.).

Why do you want to blog?
  • I want to be published.
  • I want to use blogging to organize myself (my photos, my mothering atedotes, my scrapbooking)
  • I want to share how God has worked in my life.
  • I want to minister to other grieving widows.

What do you want to learn how to do?
  • How to set up a blog?
  • How do I post?
  • How do I find photos for my blog? What about copyright?

Then, we walked them through setting up blogs through Blogger.
  • Go to Follow Blogger’s step-by-step instructions on how to create Google account and Blogger blog.
  • Choose your blog title and blog web address. What is your blog going to be about? Carol wanted hers to be about God. The address she wanted, “forhisglory”, was taken, so she choose a similar one, “hisgloryshines”, instead. Note: You can change your blog web address in the future, but it is best to do so soon because once you start getting followers, that complicates things. Also, if you are a writer, many sites suggest that you use your name as the Blog title and address (example I know some that do and some that don’t. It’s up to you.
  • Choose your template and layout. How do you want your blog to look? What background do you want? There are tons of pictures in Blogger to choose from. What font to you want? Tip: Use a white or cream background for your actual posts and use a dark font color (white with black font is always easy to read.). Do you want a sidebar (for followers, for search box, for photo of you, etc.)? 
  • Practice clicking on everything. Slowly. Find out what everything does. 
  • When you are somewhat happy with how things look, try doing a post. Give your post a title and then write your post. On right hand side is “Label” – this is also know as “tag” and it is used to give labels to your posts so search engines can help people find it. For example, if your post is about mountain biking trails, you might give it labels like: “mountain biking, bicycling, trails in Pennsylvania state parks”. You might also want to use “Schedule” – this allows you to set date and time for post to schedule. Click “Publish” to publish your post. Click “View” to see your published post.

We are going to have a follow up session for our newbie bloggers. What are some suggestions or tips that we could share with them?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Smelly Writing

Most writers don't Dawn doesn't use the sense of smell very much in their her writing. We Dawn forgets about it or puts it in the "too difficult" box. Smells can be very powerful. I realized this as I was working on my lesson for 1st Writes this week. Smells can trigger memories for you and your readers. You don't want to overuse the sense of smell in your writing, but you do want to use it to add a powerful punch where needed.

The following articles have some great "smelly" tips for your writing: 

Using smells and taste for powerful writing

Listen! Do you smell something?

Using the five senses in your writing

Using smell to improve your fiction

Here is an example of how one stinky smell transported me... (true story)

One Wonderful Smell by Dawn M. Hamsher

There was a smell. It was like rotten cheese mixed with garbage. I caught a whiff of it as I walked past an alley in downtown Charleston (S.C.), heading back to my college campus. I backed up so I could continue breathing it in. Memories flooded back from Italy, where I had lived in the fourth grade. 

Trying to eat hard Panini roll hamburgers. Adopting the stray Italian dog, only to find out he already had an Italian family. Laughing to see a goat wander into my friend’s house and then go up their stairs. Being chased by a cow. Living in hotels for months. Eating rum cake every night. Taking the ferry boat to school. Seeing the rocky coast line and scraggy cork trees. Snorkeling in the crystal clear water while watching out for sea urchins. Dipping ants in chocolate and eating them in the school yard. Learning what a Bidet was. Watching my mom carry all the American conveniences in her purse like toilet paper, ketchup, and salad dressing. Having to go to Spain to get my braces and headgear put on. Helping my dad develop photos in his darkroom. Riding in the Riley with its steering wheel on the wrong side. Buying leather and blown glass in the market. Playing Italian Monopoly with my dad every night after the power went off at seven o’clock.
All those memories --from one wonderful smell.

Friday, November 9, 2012


One of my favorite songs is "Home" by Phillip Phillips.

What does the song mean to you?