Tag Archive | words

Spatzle Speaks: Clue Into Kindness (Book Review)

clue into kindnessThis book two in the “Love is . . .” series by Prism Book Group. Gay Lewis often writes about a ditzy but sweet angel, but that’s not Clue Into Kindness is about.

This story is about Georgia. She really loves her hubby but he’s really kind of a class-A jerk. She responds to every cutting remark with kindness. I’d like to bite him for every cruel comment and remark he makes to his wife. And she takes it? I don’t get it and neither does her best friend Jana who really would like to slap the guy. But her husband tells her that’s not really who Ken always was.

Georgia has work to do that gives her more positive feedback. Especially when a handsome business owner wines and dines her and offers her a job . . . and possibly more? Georgia backs away although given the way she’s treated at home, she’s very tempted. But as a follower she could never betray her husband like that. Although who could blame her.

Things change when they gather to celebrate her father-in-law’s birthday. While Georgia is away from the table, Alan hears some hard truths but he refuse to believe them. He follows up and God gets ahold of his heart . . .

But can Georgia really accept that kind of change? Can she forgive all that verbal abuse and trust that the man she vowed to love and has stayed faithful to really has changed? Guess you’ll have to read to find out.

I like light-hearted stories and this was not one of them. But to shine a light on the subtle and yet devastating abuses that can take place even in a Christian marriage through verbal abuse is a good thing to explore. I still wish Georgia hadn’t been so much of a doormat but maybe if it had continued, in time, she would have recognized it for what it was.

This story illustrates “Love is kind” from 1 Corinthians 13 and what better way to do that than set it up against someone so blatantly unkind and in a relationship that is hard to leave. Romance? Not so much, but a difficult story of loving in spite of another’s choices, this book definitely hits the mark for that.

I’ll give it four bones (I’m a dog, I don’t do stars) for tackling an uncomfortable issue and a happy ending. It’s a novella so it’s short. A longer book might have explored this even further, but might have also been harder to read from an emotional standpoint.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that's how we roll.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

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Are My Words A Clanging Cowbell?

I’ve not had much to say lately so I’ve not been as faithful with my posts. And maybe that’s a good thing. As I helped my friend Beth Ziarnik get her own blog up and running, we talked about the fear of just adding to the noise of the world around us. We don’t want to toss words willy nilly to have them evaporate without perhaps refreshing someone’s faith. A noisy cymbal as Corinthians would say. Or maybe now-a-days a cowbell is more appropriate?

There is however, a timelessness to words. What I write in a blog two years ago could resonate with someone today. We write in faith that someone will enjoy our words and be blessed by them. But isn’t that the way we do anything in this world?

We work and hope that it makes a difference.

We raise children and hope they will grow to be men or women who love God and will do far greater things than we ever could do.

We study Scripture and even after decades ask God to challenge and change us more and more into the image of his Son.

We exercise and hope to become stronger physically.

We plants seeds in hopes of a garden to enjoy.

The point is, we rarely do anything for the sake of doing it. Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” is the lament of Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes. He’s become cynical at the redundancy that can sometimes overtake our lives if we let it.

In our society we post everything on social media. Or at least many do. And rarely do we tell the truth about our deepest battles. Solomon ends Ecclesiastes though with these words:

The conclusion when all has been heard is: 

Fear God and keep his commandments, 

Because this applies to every person. 

For God will bring every act to judgement,

everything which is hidden, 

whether it is good or evil. (Ecc 12:13-14 NASB)

Well, now. Isn’t that sobering thought? Omniscience is not just this pie in the sky word that reminds us that God sees and knows everything. It’s a terrifying word that means God SEES and KNOWS everything. He knows our thoughts, our deepest desires, our hidden sins and the motives behind our actions.

Gulp. 

I gave a talk in Colorado at the Write His Answer conference at Estes Park. Beautiful area and delightful people. I spoke on the Heartbeat of Christian Romance. And as much as I talked about romance, kissing and gasp, lust–this was the quote that people wanted to make sure they wrote down:

As an author we are held accountable for what we write as much as any teacher or pastor is. We need to consider this a holy calling and a responsibility. What we write can and does impact lives whether we think it does or not.

Blessings to you as you go out today and live your life for Him. May your words, and actions, bring Him glory.

Bug-a-boo Words

Every author has them. Words that crop up repeatedly in their work that are overused.

Sometimes it might be a pet verb (get, could, would are popular choices).

Sometimes it’s a phrase. In my first draft of my first novel I was shocked to realize how may times my heroine said “Oh!” Yeah.

Then I had a book that had “then” everywhere. Then I had to go and do a search and replace and try to get rid of them.

Or how about so? I once made the mistake of doing a search and delete of every instance of so in my manuscript. Um, not wise. So is also in words like something, among others. I had done this with “very” as well with no so nice results because it is in eVERYthing as well. What a mess!

I have a bit of a problem with a little bitty phrase “a bit” that often pops up as well.

Now I have a list of words I try to eliminate after I’ve revised my novel and these are words I often look for in the work I edit as well. They include: felt, feel, feeling, just, then, a bit, so, very, always, often. Most of the time (oops, most should be on that list too) those words are unnecessary and can be deleted to clean up the text.

Then you get into the dreaded -ly adverbs. Or mixing -ing verbs with -ed ones. Or too many adjectives. Part of me wonders why we had to learn about all these words in school if we are only going to delete them in our writing.

A great free aid to help you in checking your writing is ProWriting Aid.

How about you? Do you find you have any pet bug-a-boo words that crop up in your writing? What are they?

Contaminated Love

Sometimes our wounds are more significant than we realize.

Let me explain. I’ve struggled with some spiritual inertia lately. Difficult chronic issues contribute, as well as some health stuff, but it dawned on me today that the real issue is that I have come to feel defeated in my walk with God.

But this is not from God.

It started with another person I looked up to and trusted. A person who repeatedly wounded me and I prayerfully confronted with much fear and trembling. A person who turned on me and lashed out in even more deeply painful ways.

It was not so much the fact that this happened but the fact that the things I had been devalued for by this person involved prayer.

Prayer. An intimate conversation with the Most High God.

And this individual left me feeling like a failure in this area.

*Sigh.*

So there’s a double whammy for me.

1)      I tried to confront in love because God asked me to – and came away feeling beaten and bruised at the core of my being. My attempts to get help to confront again were not successful and I gave up because too much time passed for it to seem meaningful. This made it hard for me to go back to God because didn’t it all start with Him anyway?

2)      I still feel inept.

Now this is all entirely ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean, who else should care about how well I communicate with God – except for – God!

And He knows my heart and my hurt and it was never His intention to open me up to such soul-searing pain as what I experienced at the words of this woman.

So I go back and try again – to sit at the feet of my Savior recognizing that it was not this individual, but Satan Himself using that person to derail my relationship with God.

Amazingly enough, God has continued to speak to me and lead me even when I’ve not been as faithful as I think I should be in coming to Him. Another dear friend has told me that she thinks I’m praying more than I realize. Pray without ceasing? In some ways I do that. Simple prayers from a simple servant heard by a gracious and abundant God.

And I’m grateful because He has never wasted any pain that I’ve endured from others who have sought to wound me. Ultimately He has taken what they meant for evil and used it for good.

So I will hold on and I will persevere because He is faithful and loving even if some people have not lived that out in the ways I expect. Chances are I’ve wounded a few on my path as well. I only hope and pray I can be humble when confronted and not hurt in return like I’ve been hurt.

How about you? What derails your relationship with God?