Received confirmation today that my story, My Shadow, will be published in the August 2017 edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul. The book is called Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That? 101 Stories of Miracles, Mischief and Magical Moments. What's great about this particular edition is "royalties from the book go to American Humane, one of the organizations that Chicken Soup for the Soul supports in its broad program to help care for shelter animals and promote adoption."
This was a true story that is being published about my favorite cat. It was actually a little hard to write, because I miss him so much. I believe that's what must have caught the editor's attention as the story events seem rather unremarkable. So take a note aspiring writers: write about something you love or feel passionate about and it will shine through, increasing your chances for publication.
A blog's not very weekly if it's not weekly, now is it??
I swear I've been writing..just for other people! I've been busy as of late working on my latest addiction - creating a wiki. I've wanted an external piece of writing to add to my portfolio that illustrates my ability to write a self-help, informative somewhat technical piece and a wiki for a game fit the bill.
It gave me the thrill of learning something new (navigating Google's classic sites set up) and I got to interface with some new people from the game along the way.
You should download the game yourself (it's very addicting!) and use the wiki as your guide.
And then when you've done that...challenge yourself to learn something new. It keeps those brain juices flowing in the right direction.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ruth. I first got pulled into reading it because, well, it was short. Back when I struggled with the 'begats' and 'heretofores', I was just looking at something I could get through and feel like I actually had been able to read some of the Bible.
But then I read it...and it made sense. It was like a 'real' story and one I could understand. As I've grown in my Christian walk, I've gravitated back to that story...especially when I need a boost on God's provision or reassurance that it's never too late for love or a reminder that doing the right thing is, well, the right thing.
It's a short book (only four chapters), but it has so many great nuggets in it I personally believe that it's overall message is that if we do what we are supposed to be doing, then God will do the rest. And we can reap great things. I've broken this down into 4 posts - one for each chapter - to expand on the gems this book has for us.
1. Die to yourself and love those around you. When we are in the middle of our own mess and pain, our instinct is to turn inward and nurse our wounds. Most of us don't think of helping someone else when we feel we are the ones needing help. Ruth and Orpah both stayed with their husband's families until the husbands died. Even THEN, they both chose to stay with their mother-in-law, Naomi, and travel back to Naomi's homeland (Ruth 1:7). That says a lot about their character...even in the midst of their own pain, they recognized Naomi's was greater (having lost two sons and a husband) and chose to meet her where she was. They chose to not focus as much on their own pain, but to serve Naomi during hers. Naomi did the same for them... she encouraged them to go back to their own mothers' homes and start over with new families. (Ruth 1:8-9) The pain is palpable as they all weep together and hug/kiss on each other.
2. Stay true to what you believe in and stand steadfast. There's something to be said for having a backbone. And by backbone...there's a difference between running over people or being a bully versus standing quietly, solidly in your belief that you are on the right path and doing the right thing. It's especially tough to do it when others don't have faith in you and the odds are stacked against you (such as David and Goliath); or when people, even people who are supposed to know more than you or be wiser than you, are urging you to take a different path. Ruth believed she was on the right path, that she was doing the right thing and she chose to stand steadfast in that belief. She told Naomi that she was sticking by her no matter what. Naomi recognized that determination in Ruth and conceded. (Ruth 1:16-18).
3. Let people meet you where you are. Naomi is pretty upset when she returns home. She doesn't hide her pain. Her hometown recognizes her when she arrives and she tells them to no longer call her Naomi which means pleasant but to call her Mara, which means bitter (Ruth 1:19-21). She tells them God's afflicted her and she feels empty. She's ticked off and hurt, but she feels safe enough with her people to let them know. Isn't that amazing that she wasn't worried about being rejected in her honesty? She just laid it out there and trusted that she was in a safe place. We need a safe place among people like us (fellow believers) where we can share our burden.
4. Know that there is always a harvest just ahead. Even in the middle of pain, we can give thanks that harvest and bounty is just around the corner. I think that's why we can have the ability to give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18) - because we know there's good ahead. Thomas Fuller's thought that the 'darkest hour is just before dawn' is reinforced here. As Naomi expounds on her sorrow and bitterness, we find that she and Ruth have arrived at the beginning of the harvest (Ruth 1:22). If that doesn't build some excitement and expectation, I don't know what does! Isn't that something to know in the middle of our pain, we can wait expectantly for God's harvest in the situation?
Come back for part 2 in the series - Reap like Ruth.
I just published a handy list of gluten free restaurant menus on Quora. Over 140 restaurants are there! Handy guide to have when you are travelling. It's updated for 2017.
I was researching and writing an article on STDs yesterday and came across some interesting facts that I haven't been able to CSI through in my mind.
For example.... In the state of Alabama, over 70% of newly reported cases of STDs (specifically chlamydia and gonorrhea) are from people ages 10 to 29. And in that age group...more than 50% are black females.
The lion's share of cases come from a smattering of counties in the south of the state. So that got me thinking...how does that happen exactly? I mean, it takes two to tango so why the rash (ahem, no pun intended) of mostly women??
The best I can come up with are a handful of infected Casanovas that are able to seduce a *very* large portion of the black female population into bumping naughty bits unprotected. That theory opened up a whole slew of other questions... does the guy(s) in question know they're infected and they're doing it on purpose because they hate women? they don't care? Or they don't know and they just truly enjoy their time with females and would be mortified to find out the damage they have inflicted? (and when I say there's a lot of damage.... we're talking over 10,000 females reported chlamydia infections in the first six months of 2016 alone! That's compared to just over 4,000 for men in the same time period.)
I'm mind-boggled by the possibilities of how this happens..especially in this day and age when everyone is so vocal about potential risks of sex, STDs, and pregnancy. My writer's brain is just spinning...
I'm a writer... so that means I write a bunch. Blogs are just the pieces that never make it into the final cut.