Monday, November 28, 2011

one step closer to a once-distant goal (#767-775 of 1000 gifts)

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." ~ Zig Ziglar


My first research for Destiny's Hands (a biblical fiction about the life of the artisan Bezalel) is dated 2001. In the ten years between then and now, completing that project was on many of my New Year's Resolution and long-range plan lists. Thus you will understand my excitement when last week, I signed a contract with Word Alive Press to publish this story.

It followed the story's inclusion in the list of finalists of the 2011 Word Alive Publishing Contest. Till the contest judge read it, no one but I had laid eyes on it. I had no idea how it would do and was thrilled when it got a mention. Finishing the project to this point and actually signing a contract to get it published makes me hugely grateful and is #767 on this week's list of 1000 gifts.

768. On Wednesday I taught my last class of the fall Women By Design session. I so enjoyed the ladies and the book we studied (Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer).

769. After class Wednesday some of us went for lunch. The words of encouragement (plus someone buying my lunch) were icing on the teaching cake.

770. We're still enjoying the last bits of fall. Here leaves, blown by the wind, are caught in a hedge-top, standing up like brush bristles. 




771. A cozy house to keep us warm and dry through the rainy windy November storms.


772. Our first Christmas event of the season—a potluck with the poets. There was lots of yummy food and, for dessert, Christmas memories and poetry.


773. Yesterday's exciting football game—and the home team won!

774. Watching that game with my two favourite football fans (hubby and son).


775. My old sandwich maker. Brought it out of retirement yesterday to make some fine cheese paninis.


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If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.






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Thursday, November 24, 2011

soft


Couldn't you just sleep on these?

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Thursday Challenge

Next Week: DOOR (House, Barn, Gate, Entrance, Cellar, Car,...)

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Monday, November 21, 2011

kindnesses (#756 − 766 of 1000 gifts)

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." - Mother Teresa

"Always be a little kinder than necessary" - James M. Barrie

Though the weather is cold, the last two weeks have been made warmer by kindness. It was a great treat to spend last Monday celebrating my brother and his wife's wedding anniversary. They treated us to dinner and coffee later (something's wrong with that picture!). When we went to visit uncle in the Abbotsford Menno Hospital, Auntie served us tea in her nearby assisted living suite. Kindness, tea or coffee, and food—what a great combination!

Here is my list of kindnesses, ultimately from our gracious Heavenly Father, collected over the last two weeks.

756. The beauty of green, growing on gnarled branches.


757. Our friend is making a recovery following his near-death experience. Thank You Lord!

758. A new, fun mural on the backside of McBurney's Coffee House in Langley, replacing the faded old buggy that was starting to show its age.



759. Last weekend's powerful church conference, with much to think about (and some new tunes to sing).


760. Hosting a billet and making a new friend.

761. A magical day in Vancouver with my bro and his wife. (This is the view outside the window of their hotel room where we had tea and played Phase 10 for several hours.)



762. Magenta berries—by the thousands.




763. Pounding surf.




764. Making the acquaintance of the charming Sylvia hotel and its once-upon-a-time mascot Got to Go. (These are the muscled arms of Virginia creeper. It covers the hotel's facade in summer.)



765. Cold beauty.




766. Having tea with a dear auntie.



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If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.





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Thursday, November 17, 2011

book review: Oxygen by John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson

I recently took advantage of a cheap Kindle download of John B. Olson and Randy Ingermanson's 2001 novel Oxygen. though I'm not a fan of its genre (near-future scientific thriller), I wanted to see if Snowflake guru Ingermanson could actually write fiction and was attracted by the "Bonus Goodies For Aspiring Authors" included in this edition.

The story is about a space mission to Mars. We meet the main characters—the astronauts—when they are in training before the mission launches. The main male character, Bob is outwardly self-assured but inwardly fearful that he will be axed from the mission. The main female character, scientist, medical doctor, and resourceful woman extraordinaire Valkerie joins the crew late, bumping Josh to the consternation of some. Kennedy and Lex, the other male and female astronauts are mysterious and sometimes appear sinister—all the more because they are not point-of-view characters and we don't know their motivations. Characters are well-developed, believable and to varying degrees sympathetic.

On launch day we experience the bone-shaking liftoff through Valkerie's consciousness and the various mishaps that follow through Valkerie's and Bob's. One of the crisis points of the plot occurs when the ground crew realizes that the bruised space craft hurtling toward Mars doesn't have enough oxygen to get the crew of four safely landed on the red planet. This shortage combined with the hostile setting makes for a fascinating exploration of the psychology of people under pressure, as the astronauts together with mission control decide how to handle their dilemma.

The authors' probing of the themes of trust, loyalty, love, and faith make the story more than just a scientific thrill ride.

I enjoyed it. The authors in their back matter, explain how they did their best to make it a page-turner (John Olson: "I was obsessed with giving the reader the most extreme ride possible. I wanted the tension to be maxed out at every point in every scene of the book..." - Kindle Location 7579) and it certainly was that. In fact, I could have used a little more down-time amidst all the high angst.

The authors also talk about selling their idea to an agent, explain how they researched and wrote the book, then quote parts of their submission (with comments of what they would do differently if they were submitting that proposal today). It was enlightening. This ten-year-old award-winning book stands up well though its now-nearly-upon-us dates (mission launch January 2014) feel a bit spooky.



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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

books


Art on the wall of the Sylvia Hotel

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How is this photo related to a book, you ask? Well, it's a reproduction of one of the illustrations from the book Mr. Got to Go: The Cat that wouldn't leave by Lois Simmie, Illustrated by Cynthia Nugent

Mr. Got to Go is a charming children's story about a stray cat that wandered into the Sylvia Hotel in Vancouver's West End.

We had lunch in the Sylvia Hotel on Monday and enjoyed the old-fashioned ambiance which included more illustrations from the book as well as an actual photo of the real stray cat, Got to Go.



Thursday Challenge

Next Week: SOFT (Pillow, Blanket, Feather, Animals, Clothes,...)


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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

hard


There's something about those points

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Next Week: BOOKS (Very Old Books, Library, Electronic Books, Piles of Books,...)


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Monday, November 07, 2011

courage (#749-755 of 1000 gifts)

"Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." Mary Tyler Moore

Life often goes along in ordinary ways, until something happens to jar you out of your rut of ordinariness to an appreciation of what you have. Such an event took place this week. Wednesday night we got an email from our friends, parents of our son's best boyhood friend. Their son was playing basketball when, without warning, he collapsed. His heart had stopped beating! Fortunately he was at a gym with state-of-the-art first-aid equipment. They got his heart going again with shocks, and he was transported (unconscious) to a hospital in the city where he lives.

He was slowly brought out of his coma (which by that time was medication induced) on Friday.  He is able to move, talk, think and is beginning to make a recovery, though not without many questions and some fears: Why did this happen? Will it happen again? What will the impact be on his schooling and his young family (wife and toddler)? We are all immensely grateful that he lived, and praying that all this works out for good. (Courage, dear friends, courage!) This is my gratitude item 749. for this week.

750. I love the fall decorations—like these cute scarecrows. 


751. I've made a good start to my November writing project. My goal is to write one poem a day. It's my way of tipping my hat to NaNoWriMo  and all the novel writers slaving away at their novels this month.
752. The last harvest from my garden—prunings from the currant bush that we enjoyed for another few days as a table decoration.


753. Seeing a dear writing friend at her book signing on Saturday morning.

754. Ricky's Brekkie Bowls. Yumm!

755. The beautiful carpet of fall. 


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If you'd like to join me and many others collecting One Thousand Gifts, please do. Some members of this gratefulness community post their gifts on blogs, while others list them in private journals. Instructions on how to join are here.



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Saturday, November 05, 2011

book review: Fit for Faith by Kimberly Payne

Kimberly Payne’s book Fit for Faith describes a program that develops both physical and spiritual fitness. This holistic program has much to recommend it.

The how-to section that begins the book is divided into three main parts. “Part I: Exercise your body + Exercise your spirit” includes chapters on types of physical exercise (cardio and strength) and spiritual exercise (prayer) with chapters on strategies and goal planning for each. “Part II: Feed your body + Feed your spirit” shares advice on physical and spiritual food (Bible study) with, again, chapters on strategies and goal planning. “Part III: Stretch your body + Stretch your spirit” explores flexibility exercises for the physical body, and journaling as stretches for the spirit.

A 49-page (seven-week) workbook section follows. Each page includes a written prayer, a question that becomes a journal prompt, places to record what exercises were done and food choices made, a “Fit tip” or fact that dispels a common health or fitness myth, and a concluding Bible truth. There is a sample filled-in journal page so the reader has a model to follow.

The book ends with a chapter on maintenance, followed by a list of resources and several appendices, including a list of the 49 fit tips from the daily workbook pages, a home fitness test and several workout programs.

Payne is a seasoned physical trainer and her regimen reflects her expertise and experience. The how-to section is easy to understand, encouraging, and motivational. As mentioned, the combination of both physical and spiritual fitness  addresses the whole person. The repetition and accountability that are built into the workbook can’t help but bring about permanent lifestyle changes in the person who follows this program for seven weeks. I loved the little fit tips.

The Kindle copy I read would need the participant to use a scribbler or separate journal for the workbook section. (I assume the paper book has a physical page for each workbook page, which might make it a better choice for some.)

The only thing I can think of that would make a book like this more useful to an exercise illiterate like me would be pictures or line drawings of the exercises. My copy didn’t have those, though Payne does describe each exercise in detail.

I think this would be a great book for men or women to use on their own or as a textbook for a seven-week fitness program in connection with a Bible study.





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Thursday, November 03, 2011

creative


Iconic sculptures (I call this "The one that got away")

We sighted these line drawing  metal sculptures on a walkway near Lonsdale Quay Market in North Vancouver.

Here are some more from that collection.



Next Week: HARD (Rock, Ice, Brick, Steel, Cement,...)

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