Patience and Endurance…

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The Coquihalla Highway was closed Monday due to a major snowfall. As we travelled homeward on Tuesday — the last day of April — a lot of the snow had disappeared, but it certainly didn’t resemble spring. The above verses of Romans (8:25 and 5:4) seemed particularly appropriate. There’s no rushing springtime. We just have to endure and be patient.

Writers know all about endurance and patience so this should be a cinch. In her guest post on Seekerville yesterday Connie Mann talked about endurance and why it’s too soon to give up.

“’Almost there’ is a tough, dry place to try to keep your bearings and stay focused,” Connie said. “It is lonely and frustrating and the doubt gremlins work overtime, whispering horrible things in your ear, day after month after year. The temptation to quit rears its ugly head, making even the most confident writer question the dream. If this is where you are today, let me encourage you. This particular wilderness, this season, won’t last forever, but it is often another stop, another way the Great Creator toughens our resolve for the rest of the journey.”

My plans for May are to write and to garden. I have control over the former, but not the latter if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Then again, if it doesn’t, I’ll be more inclined to stay inside and spend more time writing, so I suppose it’s all good. It’ll help me persevere.

Welcome, May! On your way in please collect spring somewhere and deposit it here, too.

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So, how’s your writing journey going?

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Sometimes it’s clear sailing, and sometimes… um, it’s not.

During our December travels we encountered all kinds of weather. For the most part, the roads were good. On the homeward portion of the trip, as we left Cranbrook, BC, we traveled north for a time in a trench between two mountain ranges. It was a glorious day!

To the east of the highway were the rugged Rocky Mountains

… while to the west were the Purcell Mountains.

Eventually we had to leave the easy-to-navigate valley highway and turn west. The remainder of our trip was through the mountains … sometimes literally, via tunnels or snow sheds that are designed to deflect avalanches.

From the summit of the Coquihalla highway south through the Cascade Mountains  the weather began to change again, the road conditions were conflictingly described as “bare, snow packed, some slippery sections” and we drove through snow and slush until we got closer to the coast where rain washed everything slick and shiny. Driving was anything but a pleasure.

My recent Christmas trip has comparisons to my writing journey. Any objective, whether a holiday destination, a writing goal or picking a tree clean of its crop, requires some kind of journey. Success first requires desire – we have to want that ‘something’ badly enough to pursue it, regardless of the obstacles. Then there has to be forward momentum.

On the Magical Words blog yesterday Kalayna Price said, When the words are flowing and the muse is generous, writing is easy, sometimes even euphoric. But when the writing gets tough and every word has to be dragged out with jagged, rusty hooks – that is when you have to apply BIC [butt in chair] and slough through it.”

The beginning of a new year is often a time of re-evaluation. For me, it’s also a time of recommitment. My goal hasn’t changed but too often detours have sidetracked me.  The journey itself brings satisfaction but every journey needs to have a destination to fulfill its purpose. It’s time to settle my butt in the driver’s seat and start chalking up the miles.

How about you? We’re almost a week into this New Year. Have you made measureable progress on your 2012 journey?

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“By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”  [Philippians 3:14 MSG]

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“For the Beauty of the Earth…”

During our travels this past weekend we climbed mountain passes where cooler temperatures had created autumn’s colours in all their God-given glory.

The first couple verses of Pierpoint’s hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth” repeatedly sang themselves in my head and made my heart join in:

For the beauty of the earth,
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the wonder of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

 [Folliot S. Pierpoint]

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“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
[Psalm 96:9]

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 “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.”

[Psalm 145:4-5]

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Challenging Changes

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Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. Our trip home from the Okanagan mid-week was one of those things. The afternoon’s drive started out pleasantly enough. Sunshine. Picture-perfect clouds. Hardly any traffic.

I barely noticed as more clouds snuck in…

… until suddenly, well along the mountainous Coquihalla Highway, the darkened skies dumped their contents.

Then, just as the clouds began to lift and we neared the town of Hope, BC, bordering the eastern edge of the Fraser Valley…

… we encountered an ominous sign.

Earlier in the day there had been a massive mudslide which closed the Trans-Canada Highway. Traffic from three different highways backed up for miles as vehicles united into one lane and were re-routed by police and Department of Highways personnel through the town to a secondary highway on the other side of the Fraser River. That last leg of the trip should have taken us an hour and a quarter. It took us five.

As we finally approached home, the remaining clouds parted. We arrived late and tired but safe, and were glad to learn that no-one had been seriously injured in the slide or any of the subsequent traffic accidents.

Of course there’s a writing application coming. 🙂 I think it ‘s true that the writer’s journey often encounters unexpected changes and challenges, too.  There are the pleasant and productive times, as well as long hours of struggling with the direction our stories are taking. Times of hoping and waiting. Disappointing detours that make us wonder if we’ll ever reach our goals.

But if we follow the guidance of those who have expertise, if we do our part with patience and persistence, we’ll find our way. The route may not be quite the one we intended to take, and perhaps we’ll have to compromise a bit on the destination, but if we trust God to be the Navigator in charge of our lives, He will see us safely through the maze.

Have you encountered major detours in your life or your writing? What got you back on track or did you permanently alter your course?

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“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
[Proverbs 3:6  AKJV] 

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