Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Your Candle, by Paula Rose

Since Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, begins Friday at sundown and ends 24 hours later, I've decided to post a little piece I wrote for Women's Retreats that begin on Ere' of Shabbat, Friday night. Both the writing and sharing of this piece is special to me because on every Ere' of Shabbat Jewish women light the Shabbat candles, thereby ushering in this weekly Feast of the Lord mention in Leviticus where all such observances are listed.

In our own country, we honor our history through national observance just as we Jews do. Until lately both Americans and Jews prayed as God instructed us to do in His Word. Furthermore, being vested in His word daily, Gods principals guided our leaders and us. Our republic was founded through the extension of these principals. Our leaders consecrated themselves and this fledgling nation to the Lord. During this time, though weekly observances differed, we lived in a country that turned aside from insisting all act in a singular way, and affirmed the individual’s right to be just that. We did not insist that the greater good required conformation to one way. This ability to recognize and place individual and faith needs above the state yet find a way for all to live in harmony and safety made this nation and its people a beacon of freedom.

Where for the Jew weekly observances reminded them of Gods provision, throughout the world Christians remembered that just as God selected this tiny group, He grafted them into His vine, the root of Jessie, from which Yeshua (Christ) was born in the fullness of time. Here, as nowhere else in the world, individuals from both groups were able to discover and own their unique blessings, while affirming to their heart that God is and will always be faithful. 

In this world where we see the demise of marriages due to the unfaithfulness of one or both spouses, friendships that aren’t because they were predicated upon need rather than mutual accord, the waxing of individual’s to those pledges they made, and the undermining of God’s Word and all that made our nation both great and safe, I am reminded of the commitment made by our founding fathers when they penned and signed our founding documents knowing they might dye by doing so. They were willing to forfeit all to stand for what they believed in. Though each man knew that he might be signing his death warrant, each committed to the others because they believed that though they died for the right to be free from tyranny, God—not a country or a person- not science, or anything we could make—was and always will be the eternal absolute! In Him who is unseen, we see neither self-promotion nor an egocentric mindset. So if you, like me, need to remember that God saved, called, and gifted all believers to do everything He will ever ask of us, I ask you to think of yourself, and your life as an offering. Make sure that what you bring to the alter it is acceptable to Him, and thank Him for He who began a good work in each of us will continue it until He calls us home!

Each of us has a special spark inside,
That needs to be lit and share with pride.
Not pride in who we are or what we do,
But pride in our Messiah who made our life new.
For just as these candles were shaped by a mold,
God has designed us in a way that is wonderful to behold.

It may take a lifetime to learn to yield our will,
So that God can make us a vessel worthy to fill,
With the pure light of His radiance and grace,
As evidenced by Yeshua who chose to take our place.

He came into this world,
The true light for all to see,
He yielded His life upon that fateful tree.
So as we put the match to the candles wick,
Let us each recall,
That we are but a small reflection of the greatest light of all!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Heart & Soul, by Paula Rose

1 Chronicles 22:19 …devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.

There are days, sometimes too many to count, when I have not made time to spend with you, God, and I feel your sorrow. There are other times when I short change us both by trying to spend time with you when I am on the run. I am even guilty of sending up arrow prayers at the spur of the moment before we have met and had fellowship. 

I have studied your word and know that you desire to have a relationship with me. And I know that by my putting off time alone with you, I cheat both of us. Instead of giving you the First Fruits of the day, I fear that sometimes, I give you the leftovers, and I feel sorrow. Yet, in my sorrow, I feel yours, which is not like the sadness that falls upon us mortals, and then is lifted in the next few moments or hours when our mind is engaged in something else, another drama or perhaps another joy. Knowing Scripture, as I do, I fear that your sorrow continues as I, your beloved child, keep myself away from you. 

Even knowing you desire to have a daily – moment by moment – relationship with me, I keep putting other demands in front of me and avoid making time to develop a deeper relationship with you, I watch as my need to give into the ‘the tyranny of the urgent’ causes me to drift farther and father away until I cannot even see you in my life. Sadly, by allowing the things of this word to become my only focus, I become a person doing instead of a human being, and I lose sight of you; the creator God the one who called me into existence and the one for whom I was created. Because of this there are times, I feel as if I am a helium balloon floating on the winds of chance, and even in these situations, and I hear you calling to me. For a brief moment, I am reminded of your overarching love, care and concern for me. It is during these times of personal wanderings that I realize that though I have wandered away from you, I must return to you while my heart and soul still respond to your call. And it is in this process of returning that you teach me again how to reorder my priorities and put our relationship first in my life. Then, returning, I am placed under the shelter of your wings, and I rejoice for only in you do I experience true and abiding love, faith and commitment because these attributes of yours will continue even though heaven and earth are no more!

Looking back from the shelter of your wings to that distant and troubled world that had been calling me, I realize anew that if your Scriptures had not reach me when I was far away from you, I may have become as one who has heard, received, and believed the gospel, but whose roots were not firm. Yet, looking back at my situation from the comfort and security of your nurturing care, I realize that even in your sorrow your mercy is extended to me. I rejoice in the realization that you have again drawn me back to you! Yet in this joy I am aware that no mother, father, sister, brother or child, no one can understand the grief that I cause you. And I, I only know the grief I cause myself when I allow the word and all it deceptions to pull my focus to those things that will not last and in so doing find that my feet are plants on slippery sand rather than on the firm salvation that only you afford! 

Please God I pray, help me stay close to you today, this very minute that I may replace the ‘tyranny of the urgent’ with a commitment to make my relationship with you the Alpha and Omega of my existence! Remind me to begin and end each and every day with you and allow my mind to be drawn to you again and again through out the day for; succor, council, wisdom and encouragement.  For in this world there is no one like you; who graciously offers these resources to me from a wellspring of blessings and guidance that you have! Ah, to begin and end of each and every day with you! What joy! 

Because of your great love for me, because of my great need for you, I ask of you Father that Sunset and Sunrise you will call me to you to meditate on your Word. Draw me close to you by the renewing of my mind so that I may be transformed though spending time with you and in your Scriptures. Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blessings Abound, by Paula Rose

Each year's MJAA Conference is memorable in its own way. The first year I had a table in the Marketplace, Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book 1 was under contract, but I didn't have a book. However, 12 wonderful people spoke with me and purchased that novel. Three men who were writing their doctoral dissertation asked for and received my bibliography, which is found in the back of the novel(s). The second year, I had Book 1, and was delighted to share a table with an author friend of mine. Once again, I sold 12 books, and since my goal for both years was to meet people and sell enough books to cover expenses, I was delighted that I did that.

This year was as different as my goal was for having read many glowing reviews of both books, and having been blessed with amazing social networking friends, some as close as a few blocks away, and others as far away as Australia, I've learned that being in a place where I can meet and speak with others is as or more important than selling a book, especially since God did not ask me to sell, but to write books! And this years event proved that to be true... From beginning to end, and everything in between, I found myself affirmed and was amazed to hear over and over again, "I know you from Facebook!"

Amazing moments in the midst of this weekend occurred when I least expected it! I meet wonderful sisters in Messiah and lifelong bonds were formed.

Yet my most amazing experience occurred when a friend's husband bought both books, not because he, his wife, or daughter would read them but because of the many kindnesses my husband had bestowed upon his wife who packs our groceries. This affirmation of my spouse meant more to me than anything that was said because Ron has always been that silent blessing to all who know him.

Did I sell more books than I ever did before? Yes! Did doing that make the event special? always being affirmed by like-minded people remind me that God bless, and this year he blessed me by showing me that though I'm an author I would not be one, if my Ron had not affirmed and nurtured me as he does others, for you see... that's his gift!

1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tension and Release, by Paula Rose

 Now back to the art of writing!

Since two of the elements which keep readers of historical fiction wed to that genre are tension and release because the emotional leap frog between protagonist and antagonist keeps them engaged, some novice writers might think these tools belong to that genre. However, all types of fiction use these elements, including SiFi and Fantasy for all fiction writers and readers enjoy and need drama in their stories. Both Star Wars and Pride and Prejudice use these tools. One of the first examples of this in Star Wars is the emotional play between Luke and Han Solo who both want Princess Leia’s attention. Those who consider Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice the gold standard might find my mentioning these two diverse stories in the same paragraph odd. Yet the writer of each used tension and release thereby creating an emotionally satisfying experience, and given the scope of difference between the two examples cited above, I know that you can do it too! All you need now are the steps…so let’s begin there.

Step One – Tension can be either positive or negative. It’s created when the reader knows what the character, usually the protagonist (hero or heroine) needs or wants. Postponing what is wanted or needed creates some tension. Placing an adversary (antagonist) or a situation that cannot be changed or run away from like a horrid secret in the story adds stress heightening the tension. If the protagonist fears that someone knows or will discover their secret the tension intensifies.

Step Two – Release can be achieved in many ways. It could be done by letting the reader see that what the protagonist wants is within reach. Perhaps your protagonist thinks about choosing something else. The protagonists thought life, imaginary friend, or achieving a goal can give a sense of release. Wishing to be someone else and fanaticizing how nice that would be can create release. Adding humor releases tension especially if the protagonist sees the humor within their awful situation. For release to work, it must be believable given the tension that precedes it. That said, in some situations release many come from either running away, or the protagonist daydreaming that they’re someone else or are somewhere else. Unless your book is written in the first person (protagonist’s point of view – POV only), scenes that don’t include your protagonist can create release because the tension diminishes when the protagonist is out of the picture unless people  are plotting against them or situations develop that escalate the tension when they discover what happened while they were gone.

The Critical Step: The Negotiation of the Negotiation - To write a page turner, keep tension on every page. Simply put building the drama heightens the tension. The negation of the negation builds to the climax, which most believe should occur about three fourths of the way into your novel or sooner if absolutely necessary unless you’re writing a cliffhanger that’s part of a series or saga. To build the negation put obstacles in the way, which seem insurmountable but can be overcome if the protagonist changes thereby negating themselves, or chooses not to thereby creating more tension giving the reader a memorable ride they’ll tell others about! Although some authors shy away from using the protagonists thought life, this is an area that can be developed and mind for tension and release since each character internal thoughts contain these elements. A good example of this occurs when Darth Vader tells Luke he’s his father. What we see on the screen is the internal fight Luke goes through. Here he wins by negating the negation, thus becoming more himself than he was before. The opposite is seen in the last movie when Anakin Skywalker chooses the dark side. Both characters choices continue to play out throughout the remainder of the film(s) as we continue to enjoy the tension and release of their choices, and for those Star Wars fans who’ve watched the saga a second time, knowing what’s about to happen increases this e-ticket ride!

An Important Minor Character - When the tension and release are so palatable it’s almost too much to bear, use a minor but recurring character to give the reader a restbit before they continue. In Star Wars George Lucas used c3po for levity. Shakespeare’s dramatic plays like Macbeth and King Lear used minor characters this way for tension uninterrupted can become unbearable as is best experienced in the movie “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" 

Putting it all together – Keep tension whether positive or negative on every page. Whatever the antagonist is going through keep making it worse and worse, or for an added twist make it appear better and better while the reader knows what’s happening is getting worse and worse for the protagonist thus heighten the drama by using every emotion you can (there are list of emotions on every search engine), yet play the tension in and out by using minor characters.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Devotional—Devorah's Prayer, by Paula Rose

Today, I've posted a devotional I wrote in 2008 while attending the Shuvah Yisrael monthly writers group because back in the Biblical setting of the Book of Judges it seems leadership—Godly leadership—was  lacking for we are told that every man did what was right in his own sight, and that same statement might be true of many today! Therefore, now as then, each of us must be prepared to step into roles we might feel ill equipped to handle. My prayer is that within these scriptures,and the devotional, each of us sees that God equips Deborah, and will do the same for us so we can accomplish what he asks of us.


"Barak said to her, “if you go with me, I will go; but if you do not go with me, I will not go.” Very well,” Devorah said, “I will go with you. But because of the way you are going about this, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will hand Siser over to a woman” (Judges 4:8-9). In reply, Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3).


What were you thinking my sister, my kinswoman? How did you become comfortable with the task laid before you? I know you were a woman of prayer, one called by God Most High. If I could have been there would I have heard your petition which is, I think, founded on the same questions all of us women pray when we are asked by God to step out of our normal roles and assume a mantel that is unique? If so I believe that your prayer might have sounded something like this:

“Oh God why have you chosen me for this work,
 I am as a seed of wheat,
 Not yet ripe for the harvest,
 Yet you call!

Oh God why have you asked me to lead men,
I am as one unprepared for war,
Not schooled in weapons and fighting,
Yet you call!

Oh God why have you asked me to bear the burdens of the nation Yisrael,
I am as one of the least of your people,
Not wise in my own understanding,
Yet you call!”

“Daughter, it is because you see yourself as nothing,
Saying, 'I am as a seed of wheat,
 Not yet ripe for the harvest,'
 That I call!

Daughter, it is because you see yourself as one unprepared for war,
That I ask you to equip my people with righteousness and send them out with prayer,
For there is no weapon fashioned against my righteous ones that will stand,
That I call!

Daughter, it is because you see yourself as a seeker of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Because you have an undivided heart that yearns for and reaches up to me,
Saying 'What is God’s will in this matter,'
That I call.

Many are ready for leadership in the world’s sight,
Many are prepared to do things in their own way,
Many believe they have a burden to serve but will leave when the battle turns against them,
But few truly know how to seek after me with all their mind, all their heart and all their soul.

That is why I have chosen you,
For you have chosen to abide in me,
I have chosen you to be a standard to my people,
an example of selfless devotion to their God.

That in seeing your selfless devotion to me,
They may also come to know Adoni-Jireh,
The Lord that will provide today,
Then, they will learn to search for my provision tomorrow.

For just as I had my servant Moses lift up the serpent in the desert,
That all who looked upon it in faith would not die,
Even though they had been bitten by a deadly snake,
My people must learn to look at those I have lifted up and not judge them,
But see me!"

“This I understand Lord Most High,
This, I Devorah, pledge to do and this will I sing about,
And give glory to your name for you chose a servant not a warrior,
That your name would and will be forever proclaimed!”

“Yes, and in the future that is yet to be another comes that is greater that he,
Greater than Moses who I led through the red sea,
Greater then any who have walked the earth,
for this is the Messiah who will herald in the rebirth."

“My Lord, I do not understand for I am not wise,
However, if you will it,
 I will pray for those who will hear it,
 that you open up their eyes.”

Oh Devorah did you know, as I think all the righteous do, that life is fleeting and there is more to us than the here and now? If so, may I, and all who follow after be as wise as you were. Wise enough to know our wisdom is as nothing before the throne of God Most High. Yet, wise enough to know that what we say and do matters both here and now and ripples throughout eternity. May God grant us all a modicum of understanding and a heart melded to His, least we fall into Satan snare and become ineffectual for all who care to hear and heed the message of the Lord and His Messiah!

Monday, February 4, 2013

What do You Write, by Paula Rose

Since I began life as an observer, I like to suggest that you write what you know. However, having read a few authors’ unpublished works; I’ve discovered that many believe they know what their writing reveals that they don’t.

In the 1948 film, I Remember Mama, the eldest daughter, Katrin wants to be a writer, but was unable to realize her dream. Aware that her daughter’s heart will be broken if she has to give up her goal, Mama seeks the advice of a famous author who reads one of Katrin’s stories and tells her, “Katrin should write what she knows.” Since I believe this sage advice is critical it is important to mention that what you know is unique to you. Even if you had an identical twin, you would discover that neither of you thinks or behaves the same way because though your experiences appear the same they would filtered through each persons feelings, actions, and reactions. Thus the history, highs and lows, the ethical foundations, and issues each person experiences internally are different. Just as we are unique, so is each character we write. For this to happen we need to search ourselves for the scope of what we know is more than we imagine. Unlike any other occupation, we authors expose who we are, what we know, and what we believe to the reader. Yet, writers are happy to do so, for in the process of writing we discover ourselves as others seldom do.

So what do you write? I suggest you write your heart for to do less than that would make the stress and strain of the journey unbearable. In 1 Corinthians 4-8 we read, Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. This heart felt desire whether experienced because of Gods call upon your life or a desire for self expression is your truth, and truth denied, buried, or delayed, may bring upon those who don’t respond a sadness that cannot be remedied until one claims the life they want.

Begin writing what you know and you’ll soon discover your need to know more! This journey into the unknown that we thought we knew can be disheartening which is why I share that writing is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a level playing field where reviewers make each author feel good. Rather writing requires that we realize there is always more to know, more to feel, more to experience! Living on the edge is writing at its very best! What other work allows you to experience someone else reality without changing a thing about your own!

Before James Michener wrote the novel Hawaii he’d already proved that he knew how to write bestsellers! Since his skill was writing about people and various dialects, I imagine he began there. Yet, to write this novel as he envisioned it, Mtchener needed to learn how the islands were formed, how the natives lived, why others came, and how the Hawaiian Islands became a state, and much, much more. Like me, it probably took him years to get all the facts from at least two first hand historical sources. If he’d waited until his research was completed the novel as we know it wouldn’t have been written for having everything at once to chose from can muddle the writers’ creative muse. Rather, writers work best when we do the necessary research as it is needed so as not to interrupt the flow. Though you might tell yourself that you need to stop until you know, it is best to continue writing while you look. To stop to search for corroborating information might disrupt your work and lead to such a lengthily time away from it that without knowing you realizing  it, you've quit. Once one does that it’s hard to begin again.

Many ask if they need to outline, storyboard, do character sketches, etc. I believe each of these items as well as many others are good, yet some authors—myself included—have done everything listed and much more only to discover that the book they thought they were going to write is not the story the characters wanted to tell. Therefore, let me suggest that doing everything possible to be ready, yet remaining flexible to the story as it unfolds is a must because if the characters begin speaking and lead the author into a different story, the author is blessed indeed!

As you can see writing, at least the internal experience of the writer, is all about tension and release. The secret is to put those elements on each page. If your want your story or novel to be a page turner, learn how these two parts of the puzzle fit together, and create an enjoyable read. For as I stated in the beginning tension and release is needed to catch a fish, and knowing how to use these tools when writing will help you become an author with a large following.