Sunshine on Cedars

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A glimmer of weak sunshine makes its way to the cedar trees. Except for the plow’s leavings, the snow is gone. Early February here is that bleak time of year when winter’s frozen glory has retreated and spring’s promise yet to arrive.

I sigh at the rotting leaves of autumn-neglected hostas and alder until I discover rosy peeks of peony tips emerging through the clutter. Even the winter pansies under the boxwood have survived their snowy burial and flaunt sturdy green and purple.

There is promise here after all. Promise enough for hope to flutter its gentle heartbeat on the cusp of wonder.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
[Romans 12:12]
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For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
[Romans 8:24-25]

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Surprised by God

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I’m musing this morning… finding wonder in the ways God meets me wherever I am. Whatever the need, before I realize it even exists, he has responded.

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It’s easy to notice the big things and be thankful, but it’s in the little unexpected moments that I am caught unaware and surprised by his faithfulness.

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In pain there is endurance

In fear, reassurance

In the chill of bitter snow and slashing rain

See the faith-filled promise

Of what will come again.

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Have your eyes been opened to any surprises recently?

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Not Yet… Noooooo!!!

We wandered the gardens this morning, the dog and I. He caught up on wildlife scents while I checked out how things had survived the weeks of our vacation abandonment.

There weren’t a lot of blooms on the potentilla and I was surprised to find the dogwood leaves fading and the ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum heads already blushing early hints of what later will become a rich rusty red. That’s when it happened.

My next step caused a crunch and I discovered the leaves. The sheltered half of the recently mown lawn, spread green in the shade of hemlock and alder, was sprinkled with fallen leaves. My heart rejected what my eyes couldn’t deny. It seems we’re going to have an early autumn this year and I’m so not ready, even though it’s my favourite season.

There are good things about changing seasons but I never manage to accomplish everything intended before it’s time to move on.  I had goals for this summer – to polish a final draft of one novel and seek agent representation for it, get a contest entry ready for submission and resume working on a suspended w.i.p. I made it only half way through the list. Drat!

I’m happy to have the novel ready for submission, but the agent I planned to approach is currently not accepting queries so I’ll have to decide whether to sit on it for a while or look elsewhere. Maybe I’ll drag it along with me and pitch it at the conference I’m attending next month. I did meet the contest deadline with not one but two entries, but the other unfinished novel is still waiting for attention. Did you have goals for this summer? Did you reach them? If not, what got in the way?

Officially summer isn’t over until the Fall Equinox, which arrives this year on September 23rd. That means I have two weeks yet. I’m taking part in Shari Green’s ‘Back to the Books’ challenge with a declared goal of BIC (Butt in Chair) for two hours a day, five days a week. There’s no telling how much I could get written on that w.i.p. in twenty hours if I start right now, is there? I’m off to find the file.

Oh, but I can’t go quite yet. I promised more info about next week’s interview with Keli Gwyn on her Romance Writers on the Journey website. Keli interviews both debut and aspiring authors and she was kind enough to invite me into her realm for a chat. I’ll have a link to the interview on Monday along with a picture of what I’m donating for a draw. It’s a “Take It With You” writing kit for writing on the run. It’s everything you need  for those creative times away from your computer… a zippered case containing a writing journal, notebook, pens, pencil and highlighter, index cards, sticky notes – even a bar of organic dark chocolate to tempt the muse.

Some lucky person who stops in at Keli’s blog and comments on the interview will win the kit, and I hope it will be you. (You’d love it; I know you would!) Hope to see you there on Monday.

The Seasons of Writing

In the prairies where only a month ago farmers worried about lack of moisture, they now face devastating floods. In Ontario summer-like temperatures of 30+C degrees have been around all spring. Here in western British Columbia spring growth is greener than ever, but not much is blooming. For the past three weeks glimpses of sunshine have been rare and the flowers need it. Meteorologists claim the extremes in weather aren’t exceptional or record-breaking, just the typical cycles of nature.

Feast or famine, dearth or abundance – life is full of extremes.

So is the writer’s life. Some days or weeks the words spill out like fat peas splitting the restraint of their pods. Other days they’re trapped in the fuzziness, un-ripened and unable to be coaxed onto a page. The harvest is elusive.

What makes the difference? What’s behind the cycles of a writer’s life?

For me, there are figurative ‘seasons’ of writing:

  1. WINTER – a season of storing up ideas, evaluating, and waiting.
  2. SPRING – a time of discovery, of nurturing new ideas, delighting in a fresh start.
  3. SUMMER – a race of recording, capturing the essence of a story before it escapes.
  4. AUTUMN – a time to relish the accomplishment of a first draft and begin harvesting the gems, adjusting, reorganizing, revising.

What are the seasons in your writing?

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Seasonal Reminiscing

A friend of mine dreads autumn because it heralds the coming of winter, which she hates. To me that’s like not wanting summer to come because Thanksgiving will follow, or disliking spring rains because of the impending summer’s heat. At first glance it’s irrational. I do understand, however, that for this friend winter means more hours of darkness and nasty weather, both of which keep her housebound. So I shouldn’t belittle her dread.

 

While I’m not a winter sport enthusiast, living someplace where the weather is consistently warm doesn’t appeal much to me either. I love the diversity of our seasons. I’m not sure which is my favourite. In March I claim spring is — the season of discovery with all its new growth, vibrant greens, and the return of birds, bees and butterflies. By June I’m praising sun-soaked days in the garden and anticipating vacation time at the lake. September replaces summer’s laziness with a crisp edge of colour, energizing me into more ambitious pursuits. Then December arrives and amid the inconvenience of blustery weather there are cosy sweaters, fireside visits, the wonder of Christmas, silent snow-filled January skies. Winter’s a time to hunker down and plan ahead — plan for the coming springtime.

 

The orderly rotation of seasons gives a sense of permanence to life.

 

Today I think autumn is my favourite season.  Now that it has arrived I’m going for a walk through our rain-washed woods to inhale the earthiness and admire all the turning leaves.  I’ll complain about raking them up later.

 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” (Eccl.3:1)