Called to Write

Called to Write

Never was I so glad to spend time at the laundromat! Yesterday, while there, I read the majority of Called to Write: Biblical Truths for Authors and Bloggers. (I finished it after returning home.)

Called to Write was written by bestselling authors Rev. CM and KM Logan.

For such a small book, it is packed with great insights. If you haven’t read it and are a Christian writer – or would like to be, I highly recommend it. You can get it on Amazon . . . for free.

I highlighted several quotes I want to remember.

“If you have a passion to write, it is there because God put it there. He would not have done so if He did not want you to write for His glory.”

No matter what I do, I keep coming back to writing and writing-related endeavours. This quote was confirmation of what I have been sensing for some time.

For all writers . . . “We should ache to change the world with our words.”

Specifically for Christians . . . “We should want God to use our writing in ways beyond what we could ever accomplish on our own.”

It is my responsibility to develop my skills as a writer. No matter how much I do so and how proficient I get at marketing, ultimately, the results are out of my hands.

“Your words could be used by God to change a life, that life could change a family, that family could change a church, that church could change a city . . .”

The truth of this statement boggles my mind. I know the books I’ve read, including the novels, have played a role in my development as a person. It is possible the words I pen could do the same for someone else. Therefore, I’m responsible to use those words carefully.

Called to Write includes the following challenges (rather than chapters), among others:

Committing Your Words to the Lord

When You Feel Like Your Writing Won’t Make a Difference

Making Money

Seeing Success God’s Way and in God’s Time

Developing a Vision

This will be one little book I come back to again and again . . . and that is rare for me.

“Every Christian should have a dream so big, it takes God himself to fulfill that dream.”

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Already Revamped ROW Goals

ROW Logo


- post at least three times per week here and once per week on Kim’s site and the CES site

- post monthly on UTCOP (I dropped my commitment to post on The Birthing Site. It just hasn’t been happening.)

- post on the InScribe site whenever they have an opening

- write four picture book manuscripts per month in May and June (new addition)

In Happy Bubble World, where I like to live, I will have my novella written by the end of this round. We’ll see if fantasy meets real life as the round proceeds. (Well, I’ve changed my mind. I’m aiming again to make Becca’s Journey a full-length manuscript. I joined Camp NaNoWriMo and hope to have the first 35,000 words written by April 30. Even if I don’t, the plan is to get the first draft written by the end of this round.)


- as clients come along

Submitting (new addition)

- four picture book manuscripts per month in May and June


- one novel and one non-fiction book per month (In order to work on my novel, I’m deep-sixing this goal for Round 2.)

Course Requirements

I would like to have the requirements completed by the end of August, which means I should be well on the way by the end of this round. (I’m still debating about this one. I have enough on my plate for the time being.)

Maintaining PT Certification

Since I haven’t had PT clients for some time, I will probably let the certification expire this year. I’m not sure I’ve been hanging onto it for the right reasons.


- cardio 5+ times per week

- resistance 3+ times per week

- eat healthier

- drink more water (should be easier now that the weather is warming up)


- the equivalent of three large rooms (I’ve made significant headway this past week. I’ve even crossed off some things that have been on my Procrastination List for a very long time. )


- check in weekly

- fulfill my responsibilities as a sponsor on Mondays and Thursdays

Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weekend Cinquain

Sun and Clouds


Fam’ly and friends

Housework, DQ, worship

Planning and preparing with joy


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A Brand New Round of ROW

ROW Logo

Here we are at Round 2.

And here are my goals for the next 80 days.


- post at least three times per week here and once per week on Kim’s site and the CES site.

- post monthly on The Birthing Site and UTCOP.

- post on the InScribe site whenever they have an opening

In Happy Bubble World, where I like to live, I will have my novella written by the end of this round. We’ll see if fantasy meets real life as the round proceeds.


- as clients come along


- one novel and one non-fiction book per month

Course Requirements

I would like to have the requirements completed by the end of August, which means I should be well on the way by the end of this round.

Maintaining PT Certification

In order to do so, I have to take a CPR course and a four-credit continuing ed online course this round.


- cardio 5+ times per week

- resistance 3+ times per week

- eat healthier

- drink more water (should be easier now that the weather is warming up)


- the equivalent of three large rooms


- check in weekly

- fulfill my responsibilities as a sponsor on Mondays and Thursdays

Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Ramp Up Your Workout

Weight Lifter

This first appeared on Kimberley Payne’s site Thursday, April 3. It’s always an honour to guest post on Kimberley’s site.

When I was working in the gym, my son commented that my clients didn’t really get a strenuous workout.

My response . . . “Don’t be fooled by the smile.”

While I recently put together a gentle workout, there are those who need more and times we should ramp up our workout.

As always, check with your doctor before starting or changing your exercise routine.

“So what is this muscle fatigue business?” you may ask.

Let me start with a personal story.

A number of years ago, my husband, daughter, and I had a mini holiday in Toronto after saying farewell to our son who was headed to college in Saskatchewan.

Being the crazy person I am, I wanted to check out the fitness room at the hotel. My hubby walked on the treadmill beside me for about 15 minutes and then headed off to take our daughter swimming. (Read “. . . fled the room before I could torture him.”)

That, however, wasn’t a deterrent for me. (Remember how I said I was a crazy person?) I did more squats and lunges within the following hour than many people I know do in a lifetime. It felt great. Technically I wasn’t at muscle fatigue (I likely could have done more), but I certainly did demand a lot of my quads and hamstrings.

As you know, if you’ve done a strenuous workout, your body will let you know one or two days later. We went for a walk through the art district the following day. Walking was no problem, though my legs did ask from time to time what I was doing. It was stairs . . . you know those stairs that go down into the subway. Yeah . . . those were not my friend.

My response? To laugh and remind my daughter repeatedly, when she asked – from several steps below me – if I was OK, that I had done an insane workout the day before and I would get there – eventually.

So, if you’re ready to take it to the next level, here are a few suggestions.

1. Work all the muscles on the front half of your body on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Then, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, work all the muscles of the back half of your body. In this way, you will feel you’ve challenged your entire body every day. (Don’t work the same muscles two days in a row – especially if you’re working to muscle fatigue.)

2. You can increase the speed and/or the incline of the treadmill, but if you want to work those muscles in a new way, try the stepper, the rowing machine, or the elliptical (and don’t forget to go backwards too; your quads will “thank” you).

3. Try a new class at the gym. It’s all right if you don’t catch on right away. Everyone was a beginner at some point. (I really wish I could do BodyCombat, but 1) I’m not coordinated enough and 2) I think I might break myself.)

4. Add an extra 5-10 lbs. to your resistance routine. Be extremely body aware. If you have injured muscles or chronic pain, don’t overdo it. (I can only demand so much of my traps and my knees.)

5. Maybe it’s time to add another set. You might even want to do drop sets where you decrease the reps but increase the weights for each set or vice versa.

6. There is a lot of study out there that supports the benefits of interval training (low intensity mixed with high intensity exercises). If you attempt this, remember proper form is much more important than speed. If your form isn’t good, you can cause injury that will set you back instead of propelling you forward toward your fitness goals.

What do you suggest for those who want to intensify their workouts?

Categories: Health and Fitness | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Learning Theology from Hollywood?

Hollywood Sign

I am a Christian . . . an evangelical even. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, I’m sure you know that.

Depending on who you follow on Twitter and who your Facebook friends are, you may have seen a number of comments about the biblical inaccuracies of movies such as Noah, Son of God, and God’s Not Dead.

Before I share my thoughts on the matter, I want to tell you a story from 30 or so years ago. I was teaching a Sunday School class and asking the students questions about Moses. I guarantee most of the answers came from Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. I found myself correcting a lot of misconceptions.

Sure, more money is now poured into these films. The special effects can be spectacular and the acting outstanding. Plus, fans and naysayers have more of a platform thanks to social media. However, things really haven’t changed all that much.

We don’t learn about forensic science from CSI. We don’t learn about medicine from Grey’s Anatomy. We don’t learn about solving crimes and writing novels from Castle. And we certainly can’t expect to learn what the Bible teaches from a Hollywood production.

Does that mean I don’t watch any of these shows and won’t attend any of these movies? It does not.

Why do I think the production of Bible-based movies is a good thing?

While Christians and what we believe is often maligned in the media and by society, the book we base our beliefs on is still being used as a springboard for big screen productions.

It gets people talking. And that’s not a bad thing, as long as we respect one another.

I’m all about relationships, so I will not bash those who think differently than I do and I appreciate it when they show me – and others like me – the same courtesy.

Would I invite a non-Christian to a Bible-based movie for the same reason I would invite him or her to church? Of course not.

If they had questions about the movie, I would share what I liked and what I viewed as inaccurate. But the point is we would be talking about it. And that’s a very good thing.

Do Hollywood producers, writers, and directors have a personal agendas? Maybe. But bottom line, Hollywood produces movies to draw huge crowds and make big bucks. That’s what they do. That’s what they’ve always done.

I enjoy TV show and movies, but I don’t base my theology on them. I don’t expect many people do.

In all likelihood, I will watch these movies when they come to DVD or are carried on Netflix.

What is your favourite movie, Bible-based or otherwise?

Categories: Ponderings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 8 Comments

The “Other” Dominican Republic

Becky and Noah

I’m so thrilled to welcome my long-time friend Becky Rolph and her son Noah to SNEI today. They have recently returned from a missions trip and I look forward to learning more.

Becky, where did you do?

We went to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. We stayed, and worked, at The Haitian Missionary Baptist Church. It is a church that offers support to Haitian refugees. They are a very discriminated against group of people in a very poverty stricken area of Santo Domingo. Santo Domingo is about 104 km2, which is about ¼ the land size of London, Ontario and yet, it houses 3,000,000 people.

Noah, who else went on the trip with you?

We went with a group of 19 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 and 6 adult leaders from our church, Faith. We were led by a team from Praying Pelican – which is an organization that develops short term mission projects worldwide. They provided us with knowledge of the culture, daily devotionals, and basically planned our itinerary for the 10 days. We also had interpreters working with us who could speak Creole and Spanish.

Noah, you are extremely busy training for the various sporting competitions that lie ahead of you. Why did you choose to take time out and go on this trip?

I usually spend my March break at a training facility in Florida preparing for my track and field endeavours. This year I felt God calling me to something different. I wanted to visit another part of the world and see how others live. I know that we take a lot for granted here, and I wanted to come back thankful for all God has given to me.

Noah and Wee One

And, Becky, what were your reasons for going . . . besides spending time with your son? What were your primary responsibilities on the trip?

I was approached to go on the trip in place of the youth pastor’s wife, who was six months pregnant at the time and unable to travel. I was honoured to be asked – and even more honoured to work alongside such an amazing group of young people and adults. I have some experience with short term missions, both as a student and leader in the past. However, never to a third world country. I was responsible, along with another adult female leader, to oversee the safety and productivity of the girls on the team – which, by the way, was an easy, and very enjoyable job! I had a great time getting to know these wonderful young ladies, who had real hearts of service and a willingness to do whatever was asked of them. Our days usually included a time of children’s ministry with stories, games, crafts and songs, helping out with the worship services at the church, including music and testimonies, street and door-to-door visits, a building project, and team-building sessions.

What was your favourite part of the trip, Noah? Becky?

My favourite part of the trip was working with the kids. My favourite part of the day was, without a doubt, spending time connecting with the kids. They took such pride in completing their crafts and listened intently to the stories. They just wanted to soak in everything we had to offer. What a privilege to share God’s love with these kids even for just a week. One boy in particular really sticks out in my mind. His name is Luma and I think he is about 7 or 8 years old. He loved to play games and had lots of facial expressions and a real animated personality. One day while I was giving him a piggy back ride back from the park, he told me, “I love you.” I’m not even sure how he learned those English words, but I will never forget them or him. (Noah)

My favourite part of the trip by far was watching our Canadian team become part of life in Santo Domingo. Despite the language barrier, we were able to connect in a way that is almost indescribable. We became like family to the people of the church, like big brothers and sisters to the children, and like new friends to those we would meet on the street. The people of Santo Domingo were so welcoming of us and what we had to share. Lives were definitely changed…our lives!

Another highlight would have to be having the opportunity to meet our sponsor child. Our family sponsors a child in the Dominican through Compassion. Alicia is a 10-year-old girl who lives in the Santo Domingo area. Our youth leader arranged for those on the trip with sponsor children in the area to meet and spend the day with them. What an incredible experience! It was wonderful to put a face and voice to all of the letters that we have been exchanging. Alicia was rather reserved at first but quickly warmed up to us. A translator was provided for the day so that we could communicate with one another. We are now not only pen pals; we are family! (Becky)

And your least favourite?

I don’t know if I really have a least favourite part, but I guess it would have to be the noise. Santo Domingo never sleeps. All night long, every night, we could hear barking dogs, wailing cats, loud music, car horns, motorcycles, gates banging, roosters …just noise, noise, noise! After two nights with very little sleep, I begged our Praying Pelicans leader to find me a pair of earplugs. I told her I would pay ANYTHING and she came through. I was able to get some sleep after that. (Becky)

The most difficult part of the trip was the language barrier. There was so much I would’ve liked to say at certain times, but couldn’t. It didn’t stop us from connecting with people. It just made the task more difficult. My least favourite part was having to leave. (Noah)

Noah + 2

What was the most life-changing part of the trip for each of you?

The most life-changing part of the trip was seeing just how happy the people are despite the conditions they live in every day. I can’t even begin to describe the smell of the street there. There is garbage and raw sewage and blood from a chicken butchery running down the street. Homes are tiny and rundown. The water is unusable (that is, if it is even available). Just very unsanitary conditions all round. The children play with kites they have constructed out of the garbage on the streets and rocks they find on the ground, and yet, are carefree and loving. I’m sure this was a big eye-opener for our teens on the trip – to compare our techno world and all that we have at our disposal and children here still never seem to have enough. The people were just so happy that we were there and made us feel so welcome and at home. I would definitely go on a trip like this again and would recommend that if someone has the opportunity to get involved in an experience like this, that they don’t think twice. Just go! (Becky)

Every aspect of this trip was life-changing. We went on prayer walks through the city and I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a number of people on the streets. One older man even gave his life to Christ! It doesn’t get any sweeter than that. I would definitely go on another trip like this again. The more the week went on, the more comfortable I got with my surroundings and the more confident in sharing the gospel. The next time I have an opportunity like this, I would be able to give my all right from day one. (Noah)

If any of my readers are considering going on a missions trip, what one piece of advice would you give them, Becky?

If I could give advice to readers who may be considering a short term missions trip, I would recommend that they prepare well and join up with an organization who is on the ground where you are planning on going, like Praying Pelican. Our team had regular meetings and assignments to complete along the way. We were responsible for reading the book, Dangerous Wonder by Michael Yaconelli, which I would recommend, by the way, memorizing scripture, learning about the culture and history of Santo Domingo, preparing and sharing our testimonies, planning activities and collecting supplies for the children’s ministry, raising our financial support, and praying for each other and the people of Santo Domingo. A lot of time and effort went into getting ready for this mission, but it was time well spent. God was in control every step of the way and we were exactly where we were meant to be in March, 2014.

Goodbye to the Dominican

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Gentle Workout

Girl Stretching

I was asked to guide a group of ladies through a gentle workout. Below is the routine I developed.

Before beginning or changing your exercise routine, check with your doctor.

Always pay attention to proper posture. Keep your chin in; roll your shoulders up back and down; make your spine as long as possible; tighten your core muscles and your glutes. And keep your knees soft (slightly bent).

For support, all of the following exercises can be done using a chair.

Start by walking/marching/jogging on the spot to warm up your muscles.

Circle each ankle clockwise 10 times then counter-clockwise 10 times.

Come up on the balls of your feet then come down slowly onto the entire soles of your feet. Repeat 10-20 times.

Easier Option: Place a weight on your knees and do this while seated.
More Challenging Option: Do this exercise while on a step. Drop your heels slightly below the step when you return to the starting position. (Hold on for balance.)

Raise your leg 45-90 degrees. Deliberately lift your lower leg straight out then slowly return to 90 degrees and lower to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times per side.

Stand in front of a chair with your feet parallel, shoulder width apart. Sit back to 45-90 degrees. Make sure your knees don’t jut over your toes. Bring your hands in front of you for balance. Slowly return to standing position. Repeat 10-15 times.

More Challenging Option: Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
Even More Challenging Option: Spread your legs slightly beyond shoulder width, toes pointed outward. Squat as above. You will feel this in your inner thighs as well as the front and back of your thighs.

Place one foot in front of the other. Drop the back knee carefully. Don’t let the front knee jut over the toes. Repeat 10-15 times per side.

More Challenging Option: Pause halfway down and halfway up for a double lunge.
Even More Challenging Option: Hold a dumbbell on the same side as the rear leg.

Bring one foot in front of the other. Draw it across your body and return to starting position (just past hip width). Repeat 10 times per side.

Lift your leg out to the side only as high as is comfortable. Repeat 10-15 times.

Stand arm’s-length from the back of a chair or the wall. Hold on for balance. Raise your knee to 90 degrees. Bring your leg down and in one smooth motion without touching your foot to the floor, tighten your glute muscles and gently lift your leg out behind you as far up as possible without rotating your knee or ankle. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Bend over from your hips while keeping your back flat. Let your arms dangle. “Scoop” your abdominal muscles and slowly round up until standing. Repeat 10 times.

More Challenging Option: Use a barbell and keep your back flat through the entire exercise.

Come into a lunge position. While keeping the arm close to the body and the elbow by the hip, draw your elbow up, like you’re starting a lawnmower – without a power starter.  Repeat 10-15 times per side.

More Challenging Option: Use a dumbbell.

Raise your elbows to shoulder height, palms face-down in front of your chest. Draw your elbows back; return to starting position; extend your arms straight out; again draw your shoulder blades together; return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Hold your arms at shoulder height at 90 degrees (like football goal posts). Draw your upper arms together, focussing first on bringing the elbows together. Return to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

Lift your arms straight out from your sides to shoulder height, palms down; return to starting position. Lift both arms straight out in front of you to shoulder height, palms down. Return to starting position. Repeat sequence 10-15 times.

More Challenging Option: Use 2-5 lb. dumbbells.

Hold your arms straight out to your sides at shoulder level, palms up. Draw your hands slowly toward your ears. Return to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

More Challenging Option: Use 2-5 lb. dumbbells.

Clasp your hands above your head, elbows by your ears. Lower your hands behind your head while keeping your elbows where they are. Raise them to starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.
More Challenging Option: Hold a dumbbell with both hands.

Hold your arm at 90 degrees across your chest. Keep your elbow by your side. Rotate your arm away from your body as far back as you can slowly. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

More Challenging Option: Hold a 2-5 lb. dumbbell.

This routine first appeared on Kimberley Payne’s site Thursday, March 27.

Categories: Health and Fitness | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Final Round 1 Check-In

Kids Waving

Round 1 of A Round of Words in 80 Days winds down as of Wednesday. This will be my final check-in.

These were my goals from the beginning of the round. Let’s see how I did.


My weekly blogging plans include . . .

- two ROW check-ins Until recently, when I dropped back to one check-in per week, I kept up with this.

- three posts for this site I think I hit this goal . . . or pretty close to it.

- writing prompts for Christian Editing Services I write for CES weekly. This goal was met . . . and is ongoing.

- a fitness-related post for Kimberley Payne I achieved this most weeks.

My monthly blogging plans include . . .

- a prayer-related post for Under the Cover of Prayer I still have one more to go.

- a pregnancy and childbirth post for The Birthing Site This didn’t happen, but I still want to give it a go when Round 2 rolls around.

- a writing-related post for InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship I have a list of available months and their themes. So far, I’ve written one post and will write another within the next week or two. Myplan is to write a post for every month that is still open.

I may be co-writing a blog with a client this year. We’ll have to see how that unfolds. (I’ve fired off the first post–and she likes it. Yay!) My client decided against writing the blog, so this was a no-go.

Any other writing will likely be on the back burner for now. And that it was, but I am excited about revamping my idea for a novel into a novella or a short story. This is a definite goal for Round 2.


- working with clients as they come my way (So far, I haven’t had to go looking for them.) There are several opportunities hovering in the queue and I am working consistently with one client finalizing the line edit of her manuscript.


- daily Bible reading I need to do better.

- one or more novels per month (I’m on schedule so far.) I need to turn off the TV and read more. Saying it’s good hangout time with my daughter – and sometimes my hubby as well – only goes so far.

- possibly one non-fiction book per month (I’m pretty much on schedule to accomplish this goal for January.) This sounds like a good goal to add to my Round 2 list. It didn’t happen during Round 1, however.

My Annual Theme

- get started on The Great Declutter At the rate I’m going, my new theme may be The Year of the Great Procrastination. However, I have 75 percent of the year left, and I should still be able to make a significant dent in the clutter around here by year-end.

All in all, Round 1 was a success. I look forward to jumping into Round 2.

If you’re a writer and are looking for some accountability and interaction with a wide variety of writers from all over the globe, you should check out A Round of Words.


Categories: ROW80 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Wishing for a Work in Progress

Woman Typing

As with many authors, there are several ideas bopping around my head. For one reason and another, that’s pretty much where they’re staying for the time being.

That said, I’m going to give you a sneak peek into several of the books I would like to write.

Sharing with readers about our works in progress is the topic of this week’s Blog Hop for Writers post. (See the link at the end of this post.)


When one’s interests include fitness, photography, pregnancy and childbirth, and writing – to name a few – the possibilities for picture books is almost endless.

I have a number of manuscripts that I want to get out to publishers and agents and several other ideas waiting to be developed.


I have been sitting on an idea for a series of mystery stories that would correspond with the Canadian curriculum being taught to 10-12-year-olds. When you get the thumbs up from a key player in the industry, you’d think that would be enough motivation. You’d think.


I have a rough outline for the plot of my novel. I like the characters and the premise. But do I like them enough to spend the amount of time I need to with them to develop the idea into a full-fledged story? (Hmm, as I was writing that, I realized I might aim to make it a short story or a novella. Now that might be doable. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.)


This is the one area I’m pretty much on target with – pretty much.

I guest blog for a few sites and post here regularly.


Shall I motor through and finish the assignments for the CAPPA Pregnancy Fitness Educator certification? Am I motivated enough to do so or am I pursuing enough of my eclectic interests?


Just what takes up my time?

Bee-bopping around the social networks . . . <clears throat and averts eyes>

Editing for my clients . . . very important

Spending time with my daughter . . . also very important (though it would be better not to veg quite so much in front of the TV :D)

Hanging out with my hubby . . . again, a very important thing to do, but he isn’t home until 5:00, so I have lots of time when he’s at work.

Getting together with friends . . . another very important thing on my Action Plan and probably one of the only ones that is well-balanced timewise

Errand and grocery shopping . . . I’m pretty good about budgeting my time and getting lots done on any given outing.

Exercise . . . Regular exercise actually makes one more productive. This is one area that should get even more of my attention.

Reading . . . I should be doing more of this as well. My To Be Read list will never get shorter at this rate.

You will notice that housework and meal prep didn’t make the list. That time is actually negligible. Since this is supposed to be my personal year of The Great Declutter, this really should change.


I’m going to develop and send out my picture book manuscripts.

I’m also going to draw up an outline for my fiction story after researching possible markets for a short story or novella.

You can connect with more blog hoppers starting with Ruth Synder’s post.

Categories: Blog Hop | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

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