Today, we’re taking a break in our usual programing to remember the men and women who have bravely fought and died for our country. If you see a soldier today, please stop and thank him for his service.
He was a simple man. Sprigs of snowy white hair peeked out from under a dirty ball cap, framing a wrinkled face that had weathered a lifetime of storms. Wearing worn blue jeans and a button-up shirt that had seen better days, he was probably someone’s daddy or granddaddy, stopping by the magazine aisle for the newest puzzle book. But right now, he stared at what I held in my hands. A photo essay of Pearl Harbor.
Being a child in the 1960s, the surprise attack that drew the United States into World War II was just a history lesson to me. But in this man’s eyes, I saw memories of a time and place so real, I could have reached out and touched them.
“Nice book, isn’t it?” I asked.
The muscles in his throat moved, and for the briefest of moments, I felt ashamed for disturbing him. Then he spoke. “I was there,” the quickly added. “Not for the attack, but later.”
He’d been a boy of eleven or twelve when the Japanese bombed Hawaii, but he remembered the days afterward. The call to arms. The boys of Paulding county marching off to war. The star that hung in the windows of those who didn’t make it home.
The attack affecting him. Nine years later, he joined the Marines. He shyly glanced at me. “I’d been raised in church and was saved when I was a young boy, but the service changed me. I slid away from the Lord. That was before I went to Pearl Harbor.”
His orders came in. After a brief layover in Hawaii, he would report to duty in Korea where a new conflict brewed. Scared about what laid ahead, he decided to go see Battleship Row, particularly the entombed Arizona. Standing where so many had died, he watched as the infamous drops of oil rose to the surface. So many lives for the sake of freedom.
“Then the Lord spoke to me in His still small voice,” the man said. “He reminded me that one day, the oil would run dry and people would forget what happened here, but His Son shed drops of blood for my freedom that will last for all eternity.”
The man gave his life back to the Lord that day, certain that whatever happened in Korea, his everlasting freedom was secure. He tipped his hat and scuffled away.
A lump formed in my throat as I gazed at the book through unshed tears. So many lives lost in the cause for freedom . One battle fought for our eternal deliverance. The nameless man had changed my textbook view of Pearl Harbor. Never again would it be just another documentary on the History Channel, but a constant reminder to give thanks for the men and women who serve our country every day. And to give wholehearted praise to the loving Warrior who stormed the gates of Hell to ensure my liberty from death’s sting.
For Christ truly is the greatest soldier of all.
I’m pleased to have my friend Joylene M. Bailey do a guest post today. I trust you will be inspired by her thoughts on apprenticeship.
The problem with me is that I want to learn everything at once. I love learning. But I often don’t take the time to learn something well before I’m off to the next thing. (Which is a strange practice for a perfectionist, now that I think about it.)
I just want to know everything. I can’t begin to explain how disappointed I was at the age of 34 – married with children – to suddenly come to the realization that I would never know everything there was to know in the world.
Devastated doesn’t even come close.
Apprenticeship is very different from learning something quickly and moving on to the next enticing thing. When I picture an apprentice, I picture a student walking with his master. Watching closely, listening carefully, mimicking the movements, learning the tone of voice.
Apprentices of the Middle Ages actually lived with their masters’ families. For several years!
By the end of their apprenticeship they would have understood the meaning in every raised eyebrow, every twitch of the lips, every “harrumph!” that they encountered in their master’s actions. And they would have understood their craft inside out and backwards.
This week I have been pondering Psalm 37, with regards to my writing. Verses familiar to me that I have had highlighted for many years:
Verse 3. Trust in the LORD, and do good …
Verse 4. Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Verse 5. Commit your way to the LORD …
Verse 7. Rest in the LORD …
But what’s this? Artfully tucked between Trust in the LORD and Delight yourself in the LORD are two little lines conveniently skipped over time and again:
Dwell in the land
and cultivate faithfulness.
That, to me, is apprenticeship at its core. Dwelling in the land of writers is an apprenticeship with community. I like to dwell in the land of writers.
I am fresh off a Spring WorDshop, (sponsored by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship) where it was invigorating to breathe the same air as like-minded people. And I learned so many things I had never thought about in quite that way before.
I love my writers group, where I can bounce ideas off of trusted writer friends, get constructive feedback, and grow in my craft.
That’s dwelling in the land of writers.
Cultivating faithfulness takes work and attention, and is part of the apprenticeship that is often done alone.
The definition of cultivate is:
– – to grow and care for
– – to foster the growth of
– – to improve by labour, care, and study
There is something about this part of apprenticeship that is just so … daily. It’s not something quickly learned, enabling me to blissfully skip off to learn something new. It’s a step by step, day by day growing, improving, and knowing.
It’s being faithful to the word and the Word.
Day in and day out, sitting my bottom in the chair and putting my fingers to the keyboard. This is the hard part for someone who likes to go off to learn the latest thing. Someone like me. But I think that dwelling in the land and cultivating faithfulness with my writing is the best possible apprenticeship I could have.
LORD, I trust in You. I commit my writing to You. Grant me the motivation, determination, and focus to be faithful in my apprenticeship. Above all, may it bring You glory.
M. Bailey writes because. What began as making up childhood stories to put
herself to sleep at night, became creating stories and songs for her three
daughters. This entertainment morphed into writing articles and stories
for children’s publications, writing rhymes for her grandson, and blogging at www.scrapsofjoy.com .
in progress is a novel about a wandering little girl and her flawed but loving
mother. Joy and her husband live in Alberta, Canada, and are relishing their recent
transition to empty nesting.
By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills
Tweet this: Hook Your Reader by Knowing Their Habits
|Your books keep me glued to the page!|
We’re pumped! What wonderful affirmation for our hard work. All the hours, tears, rewrites, digesting critiques, and muscle-cramped fingers just paid off. A
lovely nap is in order.
But in addition to all the effort it takes to write a dynamic story, a wise writer understands her readers have certain habits. Those peculiarities and preferences are vital to creating a novel that leaves the reader satisfied and wanting more. Our desire is for our books to be shared with others, via word of mouth and social media.How can we writers determine the best way to engage readers? We can begin by understanding the demographics of our readers. Know who they are and write to heartfelt needs. By penning the answers to the following questions, we writers can ensure our books are well received.
- Who is the reader? Can you describe her (him)?
- What is the reader’s age? How can a story appeal specifically to that reader, and what she is experiencing at this stage of her life?
- What is the reader’s career? Can the writer pen a story that relates to the reader’s expertise or interest?
- Where does the reader live? Is her home the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, etc? Does the story idea draw in the reader’s home or travels? If the reader lives in a different area than the book’s setting, does the story paint a vivid image of the location?
Keeping a reader glued to the pages of our books is more than crafting
unique characters, a strong plot, vivid setting, witty dialogue, appropriate emotion and body language, correct grammar and punctuation, and all the other techniques involved in writing a quality story. A bestselling novel caters to the world of the reader and invites her inside with an adventure that promises to live on in her heart.
How do you hook your readers?
Tweet this: Hook Your Reader by Knowing Their Habits
DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.
Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.
DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.
DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.
DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.