Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Writers Snack On

Today is a writing day for me. Yesterday was a teaching day at the university. Not yet sure what tomorrow holds - likely more writing. But here's the thing, I'm having trouble staying on it today because I'm so hungry. I keep wandering into the kitchen and staring into the fridge. Ever have days like that?

In an effort to find the perfect fuel for writing, I sought to learn what famous writers ate.

Created by illustrator Wendy MacNaughton

Help me out, what do you think would make a good snack on a writing day? What's your favorite snack?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cook eBook for you

I hope you are having terrific Thanksgiving weekend. I've eaten turkey, potatoes and pie, and then I worked it all off playing Just Dance on the Wii.  I've got the M.C. Hammer routine to "U Can't Touch This" totally down.

Today I'll be cooking Thanksgiving dinner part two for some more relatives that will come over tonight. Then we'll head to Enchanted Airlie Gardens to see the lights and watch the flotilla parade. (I realize that makes no sense if you are not from 'round here - sorry!)

But I have an eBook deal to offer you if you are looking to make something other than turkey sandwiches tonight. For instance, you could make my Narnia meatloaf and Olsen house salad - my recipes are contained in this eBook.

Nicole O'Dell and I -- along with 65 other authors -- have cooked up a eBook just for you, our readers, called Novel Morsels. It's made up of recipes mentioned in various published Christian novels or books.

We planned to set the price at zero for this weekend at Amazon. But Amazon won't let us set it below .99 cents. (Apparently they are all about earning a profit or something.) So, we've lowered it to 99 cents for you. Come Monday it will be $2.99 again.

Here's the Amazon link:

OR, you can get a PDF of the eBook this weekend at Nicole O'Dell's website. And if you don't like to cook, maybe you'll get some ideas for some great reads inside.

PS. The book my recipes were based from is called It's No Secret if you are interested.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


It's Thanksgiving week - a time to celebrate God's goodness, and a time to eat God's bounty like it has no calories.

I'm thankful for both the goodness and the bounty. (The calories I could probably do without.)

This has been a year of ups and downs for me. Of both bitter and sweet. Through it all I am grateful for God's steadfast presence. I am thankful He works all things out for good for those who follow Him.

 from Country Living

What are you grateful for this week?

Stop by here this holiday weekend at some point between your football watching and Christmas shopping and I'll have a little something fun to offer each and every one of you. For free. :) - Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Can't or Don't?

Women frequently confide, "Rachel, I know God wants me to spend time reading the Bible but I just can't seem to make that happen regularly. Do you have any advice for me?"

My response is usually to smile knowingly, because I 've been there.

And then to ask, "Can't or don't?"

It's a good question to ask yourself anytime you are not making progress in an area you need or want to excel in.

There is usually a long pause ... followed by a knowing smile on their end.  Or else, a list of reasons/excuses.

The reality is we make time for stuff all the time. It's a priority thing.

Next I suggest the Nike slogan - you know the one.

Sometimes I give them ideas to help with motivation and commitment. For instance, "Pick out a big jar candle you think smells good and burn it each time you do your quiet time.  It will become a visual reminder to do it, and a visual indicator of how much time you are spending in the Word."

Often I tell them to pray for insight before they begin reading.  Or to journal their favorite verses, record their questions for God, or write out their prayers. Writing really helps the wandering mind. And those prone to fall asleep. Not that that's you or me, of course.

But really, the first step is just to start showing up for it. You can't learn or experience anything if you don't show up for class. You can't deepen a relationship if you rarely get together.

In my life, the more I show up to spend between the Bible's pages, the more desire I have to do so. And the more I get out of it. No, I don't get mind-bending insights each and every time, but that's why my first suggestion is to adopt the Nike slogan.

Just do it.  Do it anyways, trusting that at some future point it will tie in and make sense. Because God has said His Word is living, active and not void. His Word can and does.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stirring up the Gift

In Friday's post I asserted that creativity is as much the artist's responsibility to stir up as it is God's divine gift to impart.

"You received a gift from God when I placed my hands on you [to ordain you]. Now I'm reminding you to fan that gift into flames." ~ 2 Timothy 1:6 (GWT)

I think the impartation can sit there unused. Uninspired, not on His part but ours.

One of my favorite female wordsmiths Shauna Neiquist agrees. She said: "I believe that inspiration is something that we create, something that we’re responsible for. I don’t believe in waiting for it to show up. I believe that being an artist means you live a life of imagination and inspiration, instead of sitting down at your laptop expecting it to show up at just the moment you need it."

Do you agree with Shauna?

What are you doing to nurture your gifts?

Friday, November 11, 2011

What does your creativity need now?

I've said many times that my driving aim when I swing my feet out from underneath the covers each morning is to craft a life that is pleasing to me and to God. (Well, and to my family along the way.) And I don't believe those are mutually exclusive goals.

For me at least, perhaps for everyone, I think a piece of that is creativity. We are made in the image of the Creative One. The One who thought up and spoke all things into being. The One whose breath makes my own.

At my center there is a creative life that presses to birth within me.

While this impulse is a gift of God, evidence of His image sparked by His indwelling, it is up to me to nurture and shepherd it. To behave as if inspiration is as much the artist's responsibility as it is a divine impulse.

Creativity, like spirituality, can run dry sometimes.  But when that happens, it is never due to any lack on the divine side of the equation. Rather, it indicates a break down of some sort on our end. A failure to nurture the gift, or to connect with its Giver.

Part of nurturing and shepherding your creativity is exercising it often. Daily even. Another part of it is providing it fuel. Seeking inspiration, ample but not overwhelming input, and new experiences or ways of seeing.

Connecting with the Author of creativity is also a daily thing, just so you know. Which I'm certain you did.

Else, running dry indicates a simple need for rest and fallow ground before the next growing season. While we carry the divine spark, we carry it in jars of clay. Regular rest is a requirement for every jar of clay.

So what is your creativity in need of right now?  Some nurturing?  Some disciplined shepherding? Or some rest before inspiration and production resumes?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bring on the Holidays

I'm back from California where I reveleld in snow just a couple days ago. Even hiked through it on a trial through the redwoods at Nelder Grove. Very cool.

And I am now officially ready for the holidays to arrive.

Case in Point:

Last night I bought gingerbread-scented hand soap at Bath & Body Works.

This morning I made hot chocolate and tuned my digital radio to the Christmas music channel.

All the Christmassy commercials are making me smile.

I'm collecting recipes to try this Thanksgiving.

I'm having to resist the urge to skip decorating for Thanksgiving in favor of going straight to Christmas decor. I will probably have my tree up by Thanksgiving.

I'm also jonsing to paint my toenails holiday red rather than the iridescent brown that says fall.

Already read the Christmas story in the gospels - in prep for an upcoming message.

Finally, I'm ready to Christmas shop. What? you say. Well, I have to get an early start - both my children have December birthdays, and I'm sticking to a strict budget. So you see my need to get on this present thing.

Armed with my binder from Untangling Christmas from my girlfriends Karen and LeAnn, I'm ready to take on the holidays. How about you?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What do writers and their characters eat?

I'm heading out for the beautiful southern tip of the Yosemite valley. To get there I will walk through no less that four airports tomorrow, and again on Monday. That means I'll be eating a lot of airport food.  Or rather, I'll be stopping at a lot of Starbucks!

But, I'm looking forward to meeting the women of Trinity Presbyterian. And talking community with them.

For those of you able to walk into your kitchen and cook up something good, I've got something good my friend Nicole O'Dell and I, along with about 60 other authors, cooked up just for you, our readers.


It's a $2.99 eBook cookbook made up of recipes mentioned in various published Christian novels or books.  It's called Novel Morsels. How fun is that?

Not fun you say?

Well, I have a recipe in there called "The Lion, The Witch and the Meatloaf."

See, I told you it's fun.

You'll find several of my P31 sisters' books and recipies included in the eBook as well.

Now that your interest is surely piqued and your taste buds watering, go check it out. And I promise I'll tell you some more about it soon.  After my five-day trip to the west coast I'll probably be itching to come home and try some new recipe from the eBook.

Have a great weekend.