Saturday, January 17, 2009

It will HAVE to be a Miracle

I don't know if I'm going to make it. I'm trying to get my current work, "The Strabeck Codicil" finished and entered in the Amazon Break-out Novel contest by February 2nd. Unfortunately life keeps getting in the way.

Greg, my hubby, has these reports from work that he wants my help with so I've been doing work for him all weekend. I had a wedding and children that needed help with projects for the end of the semester. AHHH!

Then I went to writer's group and they told me what I knew, that my central conflict was getting muddy. It was. I've got to accept that the most driving relationship is a love story and let it be a romance with strong family themes but a romance none the less and do a major rewrite. Yuck!

So I'm at 31,000 words and less than halfway through with three weeks before deadline. I've got to finish AND have an incredible pitch. Today I'll finish Greg's stuff and get back at it.

Will I make it?

Don't know, but I'm hoping for a miracle.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Israel and Fulfillment of Prophecy

Hopefully, you have been aware of Israel's attack on Gaza. There has been much said both for and against the current hostilities and I'm surprised how polarized opinions are-- or should I really say I'm surprised how many people don't agree with me. But one thing it is hard to disagree with are the scriptures so I actually pulled them out and brushed up on a few things.

With all the discussion on the current events in Israel, I'm a little surprised there isn't more focus on the spiritual side of this topic. My mother used to tell me that when she was a little girl, she remembered discussing the prophecies about Jerusalem with her parent and thinking how foolish they were because at that time the city hadn't existed for hundreds of years.

How miraculous that Jerusalem even came into existance at all. "And kings shall be thy nursing fathers and queens they nursing mothers." (I Nephi 21:23, Isaiah 66:19) I know it sounds silly, but I'm always amazed by how cleverly this is worded (duh, who worded it) clearly defining two groups, since the US (kings) and England (queens) established this country soon after the second world war.

With the Jews gathered to their homeland, we are told there is some scary stuff that's coming- scarier still is that it is one of the BIGGEST signs of the times. Certainly, there has always been conflict in the Mideast, but that was also prophecied. Zechariah gives the clearest account of the last days in Jerusalem (scriptures the Jews have and believe). He says "I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about," Zech. 12:2. In reading Isaiah 51:17-21 you can see they have forsaken the prophets and some of the blame is their own.

We already know the end of this conflict. The final battle will come and in Zech. 14:2 it says, "For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem." I used to think it was a combination of their enemies ganging up on them, but that's not what it says. (Could it be the UN or will everyone just be so mad at Israel, we'll all be united? I don't know- it will be interesting to see.) At that point the Jewish people will run for their lives to the Mount of Olives. (Interestingly, according to Joel 3:14 it is shortly after this the "moon is darkened and the stars withdraw their shining." )

That is when Christ will appear to them to comfort them and finish the fight. Although this event is talked about in Zech. 12: 20, Isaiah 29:23 and Rev. 16: 16-20, my favorite account is in D&C 45: 51, 52 "And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hand and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord: for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God."

From here on a lot of things happen all at once, but I believe we general think they will return to their homes and those that are faithful will join with the Saints on earth for a season before the complete end is ushered in when the world is covered with fire and the righteous lifted above it and all men will see him and know that he is.

I suppose in all the worry and political concern over Israel, it is important we turn to our scriptures and realize what we are seeing there. In JS-Matthew as they discuss the conflict in Jerusalem (in verse 31 the abomination of desolation is speaking specifically about the destruction of Jerusalem), they warn again that is directly after this event that the sun will be darkened, the moon turned to blood, the heavens shall be shaken (huge earthquake and lots of speculation I stay away from) and then comes the sign in the heavens that all will recognize as preceding Christ's actual appearance. (see JS-M 31-39) It's in that last verse that we are told "mine elect, when they shall see all these things, they shall know that he is near, even at the doors."

It is awesome to be living in a time where you can watch the end unfold, which is what we are watching. That unfolding could take another hundred years, I don't know, but I do know I want to keep my eyes and my scriptures open so I know what I'm really seeing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Puppy Saves A Life

Sorry I haven't posted lately. I'm on page 97 of my manuscript for the amazon contest and still working like a crazy lady but heard this story yesterday and had to share it.

A woman at church told of her experience with their first dog. They got this puppy and when it was a few months old, they brought it in for its shots. They took the dog home, and it was whining and acting funny. Finally, they realized it was having an allergic reaction to the vaccination. They rushed it to the vet where it almost died.

Well, they still had more shots in the series, and their apartment manager said they had to have the dog fully vaccinated or it had to go. In the end they got the rest of the shots, and as a precaution the vet gave them a handful of epi-pens just in case. At the time their dog weighed 13 pounds.

The woman said she often felt like it was so unfair. Millions of people own dogs without having so many problems. She felt like it was a horrible trial until the next year when she had her first baby. As she started introducing new foods, she fed her young daughter mac and cheese. The baby started rubbing her eyes and acting fussy so she thought she was tired and put her down for a nap. Soon after she realized it was too quiet and ran in to check on the baby. Her little girl was swollen and having difficulty breathing. Because of her experience with the dog, my friend knew it was an allergic reaction. She ran in the kitchen and got one of her dog's epi-pens.

Now get this, the baby weighed 13 pounds too. The doctor later said it saved the baby's life. I wonder how many times the Lord has given me what I deemed as trials so that I'd be ready for something really important later in life. Wow.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Last Minute Amazon Contest

So... I finished my book "An Angel in the Family" and am waiting to hear from the publisher. As I think about my year and look at past sales, I know I need to spend more time beefing up my platform. All is good.

But then... I hear about the Amazon Breakout Novel Contest and I'm pumped. I got this idea for a story at the Willamette Writers Conference and I think I can flesh it out. Is a full novel in 33 days possible without totally stressing out your entire family?

Well I'm going to try. From now until February 2nd I'm in writing jail. Will I make it? Today I'm two days into it and have 7,124 words. But are they good???? Wish me luck.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years, State Borders and Oprah

Happy New Year!

The whole concept of new years, new months and new weeks was a gift set up by God when he created the earth. If it wasn't for God choosing the seventh day as the day of rest, each day would simply follow another in an endless string of the same existence. Instead, with each Sabbath we begin anew. With each month we have something to look forward to and with the new year many have great desires to try to make internal changes to our lives.

The interesting thing to me is these lines of "new" are much like borders on a map. I remember how disappointed I was when I crossed the border from Texas into New Mexico on my way to BYU the first time. All there was to make me aware of the change was a little sign I almost missed. The land didn't know it was a different state. We created that and it's a good thing we did. Can you imagine if the federal government had to run everything? Now, that would be scary.

Just like with the land, it is important that we break our time into pieces so that we can manage it better. It is important to celebrate holidays, to keep the Sabbath day special, and even when you don't want to, to at least set one new year's resolution.

Now, I've read so many snippets that pull away from setting resolutions because so often we don't reach them. But I believe there is benefit in the trying. I love the fact that Oprah Winfrey's size keeps changing, because she is a perfect example of the benefit of trying. When she works at it she gets there but once she stops, she falls back. So do I. I've had moments of focus where my house stays clean and my waistline decreases but as soon as I lose focus, it all falls apart.

So do I give up and let everything go? Nope, I set another resolution and for maybe this week I'll lose my holiday weight and be caught up on laundry. Yeah for resolutions, new beginnings and moments of greatness.