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Posts Tagged ‘critique group’


Sweden Send-Off for John, Our Fellow Writer

Sigh…saying good-bye isn’t an easy thing to do. It is even more difficult when you will soon be oceans apart and more than one language is involved.

In a few days my friend and fellow writer, John Clewett, is moving back to Sweden. This time he probably won’t be coming home to America for a long. long time.

We writers are strange people by our own declaration. So when you connect on many levels: friend, trusted critique groupie, Lake Tahoe respite cabin dweller, and great debater of religion, politics, and raw steaks, the loss of close geographical neighboring is intense.

A great continental divide will now physically separate us. We will have to rely on “Hangout” via the internet, via Google, via all electronics will work perfectly.

In this modern world of cell phones, computers, and video conference calling, what is lacking? Well, simply put, I prefer personal contact. Speaking face-to-face and seeing my friend’s reaction to a manuscript read, or dinner for four with our spouses at a nice restaurant sipping a glass of wine, and ~ talking, laughing, relaxing.

What a novel concept.

Interpersonal communication was once a college class I took involving trust games.  Now it is a fading lifestyle, a disappearing act at the end of a play that is shutting down before the run of a full season, due to a lack of interest. You can sit two people across from each other at a restaurant table and they don’t speak, they text on their cell phones, and check Facebook or Twitter. I’ve observed this increasing detachment with sadness over and over again.

John, you will be greatly missed. Your instinctive and in-depth critiques helps every member of our little group. Your research is impeccable and your integrity, remarkable. Your gift of friendship extends beyond the boundaries of the international date line.

Sweden~ though I do not know the language, I do know the heart because of you.

God’s blessings my friend. May He shelter you under the cover of His wings wherever you go. I’ll be “Hanging out” with you soon. You will be in my prayers and praises and not so far away as the miles add up, but close in the gift of a divine crossing of our paths.  Bloom where you’re being replanted and may you bear fruit one hundred fold.

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To Brighten Your Day

I rang in the New Year sick in bed with the flu. Basically, I spent the entire first week of January of 2014, in my pajamas, tucked between burgundy flannel sheets, with a tissue box on my nightstand, and copious mugs of hot water with Manuka honey and a cinnamon stick for stirring. The flu bug brought friends ~ fever, chills, nausea, exhaustion, and eventually, dehydration.

The second week of the month, I sipped broth, and nibbled on crackers. I ventured out of bed for short periods of time to walk down the hallway, let the dogs out, and sit on the sofa in the living room to gaze out the picture window and watch other people riding bicycles, jogging, and taking down outside Christmas lights. My home was still fully decorated and I now had a jolting cough.

Editing my manuscript was not in the picture. Critiquing my group’s latest chapters was not going to happen either. I missed all the first writer meetings of the year.

In the stillness of illness, I did have hours and hours of prayer time. And somehow when I read by Bible, my eyes did not ache in the back of the sockets like when I tried to read books to review.

I was offline for a week and it seemed I had fallen off the planet earth. When I got back on the for the first time, I was way behind with all the news, comments, and had more messages than I could answer.

So I prayed for more people. Read more scripture, and prayed again, and again.
It was joy. Slowing down was refreshing for my soul. I prayed for the people that rode those bicycles, jogged, and cleaned their houses and yards. Some I knew personally, some were strangers.

My perspective changed. The way I spent my time changed too.

Today I am cough-free, clear-headed, down ten pounds I was struggling to lose, and starting to catch up with all the writing.

Here in California we are experiencing a terrible drought. Today it was 74 degrees on January 24th. I drove out of town to buy groceries, had a meeting with another writer, edited some of the last chapters of my second novel, and was treated to a prime rib dinner here in town. Back to life as usual. No, I am keeping my revived prayer-first life. The new year brought a shortage of water, but God offered me an abundance that is still overflowing to nourish and hydrate me. I am choosing the best, everyday, early in the morning and all day long.

There was a box on my doorstep two days ago. A surprise delivery from an old friend in Colorado. The envelope inside read, to brighten your day. I have been sharing this delightful and thoughtful assortment of my favorite teas, honey and treats with my family and friends.

What perfect timing.

What a loving act of sweetness.

2014 is now a week away from going into the month of February. I see more what I have learned and been blessed by, than time I lost. There is joy to share and lots of time to pray. Another gift sent in love to brighten my day.

Perfect timing.

Perfect gift.

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