Wednesday, September 17, 2008

D.C. Awakening

There is a revival going on Oct 5 - 11 in our backyard. It will be a week of prayer, praise, and worship around the clock. This is our chance to stand up and be counted.

On Thursday, Oct 9 instead of having group, I would like to go to DC and join with brothers and sisters from around the world in crying out to God. If you would like to join me, please let me know. Check out the website: for more information.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust

Daggers of steel
Daggers of fire

Thousands lost their lives.
Thousands died.

Whatever happened to the ones who survived?
The ones who risked their lives?

They are needing to be set free.
Free from the agony
Free from the memories.
Free from their own grief.

Too many innocent lives.
Too many had to die.

I don’t understand, can’t comprehend.

You say you work everything for the good,
Who am I to argue?

I know You were there,
There in the midst of it all.

You were there weeping for them.
You were there weeping with them
You were there comforting them.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Jeff Watkins

A beautiful light,
Shining bright.
Gone from this world,
Gone from this world.

But, there will be no more pain.
You are given a new name.
A body complete.
No more suffering.

No more pain.
It’s gone away.
No more tears.
No more fear.

Welcome to paradise.
A world without end.
You, a son of the king.
Such joy you will bring.

Running, jumping in the streets of gold.
Such joy untold.
Seeing all there is to see.
Your body truly being free.

Free to worship.
Free to jump and run.
Free, at last.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Go Forth and Write

"May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech." 1Thes 2:16-17 (Message)

I am aware once more that my only job in this zany life of a writer is to put pen to paper (fingers to keys) and God will do the rest. If He does not breathe life into my words or bless my work, then it's all for nothing.

There is a writer's Bible Study called, Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull. You can check it out on Amazon. I'd like to go through it and I'd love for you all to go through it with me. I'd like to start with chapter one on Thursday October 16 at 6:00pm. We will be meeting on the 1st floor outside of Nordstrom in Dulles Town Center. Let's use the comfy seats if they're available.

If you would like to stay for Scribe's Alley after the Bible Study, you can but you don't have to. No pressure.

If you are unable to attend in person, but are interested in doing the study, we can share thoughts through this blog or e-mail.

Other books I would like to go through:
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
The Soul Tells a Story by Vinita Hampton Wright

Any thoughts? Any other book suggestions?

The Group Must Go On

Thursday again. Another long trip to the mall. It wasn't as difficult this time. The Lord blessed me with three songs that said, "I love you. I'm here. I understand."
What a great big wonderful God He is!

Courtney and I had a great conversation before group tonight. (Last night? What day is it?)
She described to me a fantastically decorated house. From the elaborate gardens to the intricate stained glass windows with an outer space motif, it represented a creative mind unfettered by well, anything.

Question and writing exercise:
If you had unlimited funds, how would you express you creativity?

Does anyone else have a writing exercise they would like to present?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Kicking (in) the Habit

I came across a short little piece from about 5 Hacks Just for Writers. The part that caught my eye:
There is a certain mindset that goes along with writing well. It isn’t a talent that you are either born with or must cultivate; instead, the writing mindset is a question of being able to focus on the task at hand. The easiest way I’ve found for getting into the writing mindset is to create a pattern: if I sit down to write every day at the same time, I can focus on my writing faster.
For me, there's a certain dread that comes along with [GASP] writing. Although I have other issues that I'm fighting against, I think part of the struggle is feeling like it takes too long to get going, and that I won't have enough time to finish. But if I can get in the groove quickly, and "time" myself to keep from over-analyzing every word or phrase, maybe writing won't be so scary.

Anyone care to share success stories from devoting a set amount of time each day?

Catch You on the Flip Side

I just had the chance to say my goodbyes to Jeff. It was a tough act for me to do, but not for the usual reasons. For the past couple years, I had been avoiding him, simply because it was a little too uncomfortable for me. I rarely saw him once I stopped attending writer's group, so it was easy to just "forget" about him. Except of course God wouldn't let me. For the past few months, He prompted me again and again to pick up the phone and just call him. And again and again I postponed it, thinking to myself that I just didn't have the time to commit to another friendship.

Thankfully, and mercifully, God got through my thick skull (or maybe thick heart) and I called him. We chatted for a half-hour about nothing of great importance... just two friends catching up after too long a hiatus. I said I'd definitely call again soon (and meant it from my heart), but did dodge his request to get together again at McDonald's for a Coke. With my teacher wife going back to school and my 1-year-old daughter adjusting to day care, I knew September was not going to afford me a lot of free time. I figured after that, I'd have more time and through the phone calls would have grown a bit closer to him again. About a week after that call, Jen e-mailed us that Jeff was in the hospital fighting for his life. A fight he would eventually lose.

I knew enough ahead of time to pray for Jeff's health (thank you Jen). Funny thing was I couldn't ask God to have him win this battle, just for His will to be done. Not that I wanted this hole in my heart, this emptiness from having lost him; it's just how could I ask for him to stay if God's offering him such a deal:
  • He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
  • They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
  • And I know that this man ... was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.
  • The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
  • Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
No more blindness for Jeff... he's seeing marvelous things that none of us can even imagine. No more medical problems for Jeff... he is wholer, stronger, healthier than any of us. No more spiritual struggles for Jeff... he has been made new, and is forever in the unhidden presence of the One who loves him always.

I mourn only for my loss, and those of his friends and family. I rejoice in what Jeff has gained. And I look forward to the day when I get to meet up with Jeff again and have the heavenly equivalent of a McDonald's Coke. His treat this time, as I'm certain he's earned far more spiritual treasure than most of us.

Catch you on the flip side, Jeff!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Building a Monument

We are writers. We paint pictures and build things with words. Let's build a monument to honor Jeff Watkins. What are your memories? Who was he to you? Who is he still?

For those of you who didn't know him, I'll give you a little synopsis. He was born with an inability to feel the entire front of his body. When he was a baby, he punctured his own eyes several times because he couldn't feel it, so they had to be removed. The doctors told his mother that he wouldn't live to be 2 years old. Not only did he live, he learned to walk and talk. He went to school and participated in the creative arts at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, MA.

I am who I am today in part because Jeff was my friend. He put my life into perspective with his vary presence.

I met him at a Cross Current retreat at Doubling Gap, PA. We were in the same group and one night after a session he said, "Let's go somewhere and talk" I asked him why and he said, "Because I don't know you very well." So, I bundled him up and we sat outside on the porch rockers and talked.

For the past few years, he has been a member of this writer's group. I, along with other group members took turns picking him up and taking him to group and then home again. During those car rides, we talked about life, real life. Jeff didn't pretend like everything was fine when it wasn't. He always told it like it was and expected me to do the same. He could always tell just by the sound of my voice if I was sad, tired or upset. He would always ask about it and he would listen.

We sang songs to the radio. He was from OH just like me. We spent a lot of time talking about radio stations in OH. He knew them all and what type of music they had played in the past and what was currently being played. He could tell me the artist and year of almost every song that we heard. He laughed at me when I would start to belt out a girlie song that of course he didn't know the words to.

He put up with my freakish driving. He would always tell me when a motorcycle or a big truck would go by (sometimes it was just a Honda with a HUGE muffler on it).

He loved coke. We stopped at McDonald's or Chick Fillet every week to get him a coke.

He loved action movies with a lot of suspense. He also loved movies with a good story. I learned to love movies in a different way as I explained things to him. He "saw" more than I ever did.

He used to give a Christmas concert every year. Last year it was at my house. He came over one afternoon to work on the program with me. The concert was about an hour long. He dictated the program to me and I typed it out. The day of the concert, he went right down the program schedule without missing anything. He sang songs in English, Spanish, and Hebrew. It was a wonderful performance by Jeff and his friend Philip.

He was an amazing leader and teacher. He had a fabulous sense of humor. He was kind, gracious, and patient. I am so blessed to have known him.