Posts made in November, 2013

NaNoWriMo: Year Two. Done and Done.

Posted by on Nov 29, 2013 in Writer's Diary

At 12:42 AM PST, I put the first draft of my most recent novel, The Inventory, into the magical NANOWRIMO validating window (by this process they ensure that you have hit your word count, and while they do not claim that it is ‘magical’, I feel it kind of is, since the box can hold 50K words of text and tabulate them in all of 10 seconds before granting you a wonderful sense of accomplishment). At this point, Microsoft Word had told me I had finished my first draft at 50,122; Nano’s site said I was at 49,824–or 176 words short. While 176 words may sound like nothing, especially compared against 50K, it’s a big deal when you’re tired and you just patted yourself on the back for a job well done.

At 12:45 I took a deep breath and went to work putting meat on some bare-bones descriptions in order to make up the difference.

I submitted to the “magical” portal of validation again at 1:20 AM, having added a few asides and “sensory passages” to the draft’s prologue and much of the first chapter.

This (among other little badges) is what I received after the program ran its count:
 

So, there you have it.
 

Final Count for Draft 1 of The Inventory, completed November 29, 2013 at 1:20 AM PST
 
MICROSOFT WORD: 50,388
NANOWRIMO Proprietary Validation: 50,089
Words Remaining: 0



Thanks all for the support. I’m going to let this draft sit on the back burner for 60 days while I spend December catching up on reading and January assessing my writing goals for 2014. In February, I’ll give The Inventory it’s first read, and…oh boy…we’ll see where we go from there.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great weekend to come!
C
 
 
 

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November Links

Posted by on Nov 27, 2013 in Offsite Content

In light of my failure to generate content, I am going to direct you to some of my favorite reads of the web since last month. Get some!

 

LIFE

Three Prayers for Facing Monday (or any tomorrow)
An extremely useful post from Jonathan Parnell at Desiring God.

It’s Time to Break Your E-mail Addiction
Phil Cooke provides some advice to e-mail users (or abusers)

Your Personality Determines Your Paycheck
Does Meyers Briggs Foretell Your Fortunes?

Lay Aside the Weight of Self Pre-occupation
Jon Bloom helps us get over ourselves

28 Rules for Father’s of Sons
One woman gives her advice to father’s everywhere. And it’s pretty good.

Married Men: your porn habit is an adultery habit
Matt Walsh strikes at rampant adultery with forthcoming insight.

 
WRITING

Nine Ways to Become a More Boring Writer
Matthew Lee Anderson lets writers know how to be complete tools!  And he hits the nails on the head! BWAH HA HA HA

The Slow Release–Not the End of the World
A Piece similar to one I wrote, HERE

The 10 Mistakes List
Do not do.

INFOGRAPHIC: Three hundred spec Scripts and their Problems. 

How to Write a 5-minute Story
One author’s method for creating her short works
 
CULTURE

JC PENNY CEO MAKES 1795 Times More Than Workers
Yes, this is a problem

The Secret Pain of Pastors
Great thoughts on the difficulty of ministry

Unmistakable Parallels Between Abortion and Slavery
One writer’s take on how these two issues are similar, and why that matters to the pro-life cause

My Abortion
A devastating article showcasing 26 abortions, described by the women who had them.

Three Things Every Christians Should Know
Good stuff.

This is Why Poor People’s Bad Decisions Make Perfect Sense
One woman shares her financial plight, and it’s heartbreaking.

NANOWRIMO UPDATE:
Word Count: 45696
To Go: 4,304 (under 5K, we are done to home stretch).

 

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The Malcontented Child of God

Posted by on Nov 26, 2013 in Writer's Diary

This being the week of Thanksgiving, I thought I could put up this post on which I’ve been working for the last few weeks but never got a chance to finish. It’s something of an echo of this post from last week, but given where I’ve been of late, it’s pertinent. 

I can be a very bad Christian. I’m not going to sugar coat it. I’m not going to pretend it’s not serious. Fact is, I yell against God some days. I could go into a laundry list of reasons why, but I won’t bother, as they will likely do little but further cement how shallow and childish I can be and often am before my Savior and Lord. At the end of the day, my reason is very simple. I have a sin problem.

I am selfish and pre-occupied with the things I don’t have rather than those that I do.

And to be fair, I don’t think I’m alone in this. In the west, specifically, we are trained to be constantly discontented. Advertisements, contests, even day-to-day social media constantly remind us not of what we have but what we don’t, whether that be tangible things like a house or intangibles like self-fulfillment. To the well-rounded social media user, life is also a barrage of ideological minefields, with half your “friends” soapboxing, either to your delight or chagrin, while the other half is too busy living wonderful lives to bother with such supposed high-mindedness (a state which may also engender one of the aforementioned emotions). Each of us feels implicitly put in the middle, shown we’re not living up, or reminded of what we lack. This is the world in which most of us live, and I don’t think I’m the only person who thinks it difficult to navigate, not merely emotionally and mentally but also socially and spiritually.

As I am in an ever-demanding journey of integrating these above categories, I find myself in the aforementioned position of being frustrated, angry, and altogether malcontented. That is a specific word choice, implying that I am rallying against contentment by virtue of my focus on not only what I am missing but the fact that so many others seem to have it. I cannot help but look at others and see their satisfaction and success and wonder, “Where’s mine?!” And, as a Christian, that thought never rests as an idea, it translates immediately into prayer, “Where’s mine, God!? Where’s my joy? Where’s my virtue? Where’s my wisdom? Where’s my…wealth?” And the list goes on and on. The Christian wonders how he or she arrived at their present state, when so many of their peers, saint and sinner alike, appear to have had everything granted to them. “Have I not worked, Lord?” the Christian asks, “Have I not followed your leading? And for what?”

The Christian asks these things, and when the answers do not come, they go to Scriptures and receive reminders that trials produce steadfastness and the ears of the Lord are open to the righteous. The Christian knows these truths, yet he/she cannot help but feel he/she has failed to seen them in his/her own lives. “Perhaps I am not the righteous?” the Christian asks. “Maybe I am not just undergoing trial.”

When they go to others for counsel, many Christians are reminded of these things, and while they are noble and useful truths, sometimes they fall on deaf ears and hard hearts developed from disappointments, troubles, and unmet expectations. And what does one say to the Christian who has fallen into such a place? How can one encourage the brother or sister whose fire has been all but snuffed to ash and smoke by a world that breeds contempt and malignant self-loathing.

I don’t have an answer, because frankly, when I find myself in that headspace–and I have more so in the last ten weeks than at any other point in my life that I can recall–I do not know if any kind word, encouraging thought, or noble attempts at rebuke could assist me. And many have tried, but the reiteration of truth when one is already rejecting it does not often find soil in which to plant itself. The malcontent is, after all, rallying against contentment and satisfaction, so pointing him or her to such a thing will often be met with apathy or aggressive dismissal.

And that is why I am very grateful for a gracious, patient God. Because sometimes, he just waits for us to get over it, and more often than not, he waits for far too long. We refuse the counsel of his Spirit, the truth of his word, or the encouragement of his people, but he still loves, watches, waits. We lash at him for our bad choices, our failed enterprises, our lack of clarity and wisdom, yet he loves, watches, and waits. We give audience to the devil, we embrace his lies as testimony, and we wallow in our self-abasement, yet God loves, watches, and waits. He does not reject us, even after we reject ourselves. He does not deem us lost and wasted, though we feel ourselves as such. He does not cease to encourage and call to us, no matter how hard we reject him. If we are his children, he abides. He waits.

And in time, in due time, we return, not with answers to our questions or all the wealth or wisdom we desired. We return as empty as we have ever been, just wanting to be held in his arms again. Just wanting to remember how the fire feels. We return with a hunger, and he fills us.

At the end of the tunnel of despair, a light exists for the sons and daughters of God. That light is God himself, and when we open our eyes and hearts to him, that light can fill the tunnel and line its walls, it can show us a path from the freedom of self-pre-occupation and narcissistic self-pity. That light, that divine light, can lead us home, and strange thing happens then, one we do not intend. We find contentment anew. We find peace and joy. We find our blessings again, and we wonder, “How did I ever doubt and why?” Our circumstances may not have changed or possibly, they have gotten worse, but we care not in the present moment, for near to God all the tangibles are fleeting and the intangibles are a momentary bliss, for it is with him and him alone our true satisfaction lies.

At least until we are pulled away again by the falsehoods of the darkness, where we again give audience to evil and an anchor to ingratitude. Fortunately, for men like me, who fail in this as often as I do, God is patient. God is kind. God endures our hardened hearts, and through Christ returns them to living flesh. He is so much greater than we are. He is so good and worthy.

And we, his children, would be wise to remember it.

Thanks for reading, if I fail to post before the holiday, have a great one, full of thanks and merriment!
C

 

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Quick Life Update: Sick and Spoiled

Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in RandoMusings

This morning, I’m taking my first trip back to SoCal in 16 months.

But I’m ill. Real ill. Some sort of viral Upper Respritory Infection. Wednesday, the doctor said that it would have to run it’s course, no stopping it, and if I wasn’t shipshape by Sunday, I need to start an antibiotic.

Despite knowing this, I still went to work yesterday, which made me worse, I’m sure. That day is a blur honestly. Not sure how I got anything done. Or done right, for that matter.

All that to say, The Lord and I have had more than one conversation about this.

How am I sick, now of all times in the last year? How I am gonna get through the flight and actually enjoy the trip itself?

I’ve been angry. I won’t lie about that. And frankly I’m sure that my thoughts and attitudes have been less than God-honoring. It’s just been that kind of season of life–a season in which things do not go the way I want, but God is still good. He is always good. I’ve had to remind myself of this often the last few weeks…but that doesn’t make it less true. If anything it makes it’s truth more necessary.

I’m sick. I’m traveling. And My vacation is going to be more difficult than I would have liked. But at least this illness will pass. At least I can afford to travel. At least I get a vacation. Indeed, God is good. And I am spoiled.

Now that’s the truth.

 

Sorry I missed Wednesday, like I said, I’ve been under the weather, and it’s been really cold these days, 

 

Thanks for reading,

C

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November ReRuns: Scripture Memory Revisited

Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Love of Scripture, Offsite Content

Hi all,

In lieu of having the time or energy to put a real post together (I am fighting an illness and trying to be ship-shape before flying across the country Friday), I decided the best thing I could do on the blog was to direct you to posts about the value of Scripture memory, any of which would be more thoughtful than what I could cull together in what limited time I have today.

Scripture is the heart of God put to the page, and he invites us to write it on our hearts through memorization. Below are a few of the passages I have memorized over the last year. If you missed any of these posts, they are worth the read.

1 Samuel 12:20-25

2 Samuel 22:1-4

Psalm 51

Isaiah 25:1

Isaiah 56:8-12

Ezekiel 18:4-9

Ezekiel 18:20-32

Daniel 4:18-37

Hosea 6:6

Joel 2:11-13

Amos 5:14-15

Nahum 1:2-7

Habbakkuk 3:17-19

Malachi 1:8

John 11:35

Romans 14:22-23

Colossians 3 Part 1

Colossians 3 Part 2

1 John 3:10-24

1 John 4:1-21

Thanks for reading, I hope to be back to regular article writing soon!
C

 

 

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