Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Unexpected Gift, by Paula Rose Michelson

“I call this ‘The Unexpected Gift.’” The teenager’s hands shook as she pulled her composition out of her backpack. She bit her lower lip and cleared her throat. “Ruth 1:16, ‘…where you go I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God my God.’”
Lying on the hard ground, Naomi felt this night was like so many she had recently experienced. She lay awake frustrated, weary, and frightened. Here I am, she thought to herself. After devoting a lifetime of love and work to my family, my husband, and my God, I am alone. This is not what was supposed to happen to me. I served Adonai by serving my family. Now I find myself forsaken by God, abandoned, with no one to care for and no one who cares. What did I do that such misery befell me? She moaned. And what horrid thing will happen next?
Aware that her thoughts were an admission that she was unprepared for what the future held and in some way believed that God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was not great enough to protect her even in this, her most trying experience, left her undone, for she suddenly realized that she had felt secure because her husband and sons were there…now there was no one to depend on. She had always comforted herself with the certain knowledge that her belief in Adonai would stand forever. Now she knew that her faith was a sham, yet unable to admit to herself that the God she served appeared not to care about her, she forced herself to silently admit, Even when we left Israel, when I had to say good-bye to my family and friends, I did not feel this alone. It is as if you, the God of my fathers, has turned your back on me for an offense that I did not commit!
In the deep quiet of the dark night, she turned toward her traveling companion. She reached over and pulled the thin covers over the younger woman’s torso. What am I to do with her? It seemed that even now she could hear the young women saying, ‘Where you go, I go.’ God, Ruth cannot go where I go, Naomi thought. My journey is a solitary one, and I go alone. I have tried to send her back. But she will not leave me. If only she understood the trials that await her in the land, she would turn back.
            For us of The Faith, the land calls us back to itself, over and over again. For those like Ruth, who wish to sojourner with us, there is little joy. All she will experience is shame and rejection, and this I cannot bear to watch. It is enough for me to feel your curse, O. God, heavy upon my heart. I would spare Ruth the life she has pledged to enter into. However, no matter what I have said, she insists that she must go with me. Nothing will stop her. Is it not enough that my heart is broken, and I have passed from the joy of feeling your pleasure, God, do I now also have to own the sorrow of knowing your wrath?
Ruth felt the covers pulled close to her body by the hands of the only mother her heart had ever responded to. She remembered sharing her plan to accompany Naomi back to Israel and live in the land with her Moabite friends, some of whom she had known since infancy. It did not surprise her when they insisted, But Ruth, you will have nothing! Naomi herself has never treated you as more that her sons wife. Why must you go? You are young. You can still marry and have a good life—perhaps even a child.’

While the faint light of dawn began to color the sky, she turned to look at Naomi. She thought about all the things that those women had said she was giving up and smiled. I have had more of a blessing in this womans house, though I am not her kinswoman, than I deserved. I came with nothing, no training in her ways, and no understanding of her god. Yet she gifted me with her care and concern. But, more than that, while I was with her and her family, I learned that her god—He is God. Therefore, I go with her, not out of duty but out of a heartfelt desire to be a daughter to her as long as she will have me.
But, my dear, you are deluded! they had insisted. ‘This womans ways are having an adverse effect on you. Come back to where you belong, and we will help you get your thoughts in order.’
Yes, we have been taught to discount what we do not understand. Ruth thought as she rose and began to gather twigs for a fire, I came to Naomis house because I loved her son. My parents let me go because they had no money for a bride price. Therefore, they thought this was the best they could do for me. However, I know that her God drew me to her family! She lit the kindling and waited for the flames that would ward off the last vestiges of the morning chill. I did not expect to care so much, Ruth realized as she heard Naomi stir. She finished her preparations and helped the older woman stand. She waited until Naomi sat down on an outcropping, and handed her a cup of tea. ‘Good morning, Ima.’
Ima, Naomi grumbled to herself. Just because we travel together, the girl now takes liberties with me and calls me mother! Yet as Naomi sipped the warm brew, she sensed the sweetness within the drink. “Ruth, what have you done to make this sweet for me?’
‘Nothing. You know that our stores are almost gone. I have nothing to sweeten your drink with.’
‘But, child, this drink is indeed as sweet as ever I fixed for myself.’ Naomi drank deeply and was refreshed.
‘Perhaps your Godblessed be He—still has some sweetness in store for you.’
Naomi motioned for Ruth to pick up her walking stick. ‘Child, I fear that you will be disappointed if you are waiting for God to bless me. Better he should bless you since you have given up everything to follow me in my dotage.’ She leaned on her stick and watched as Ruth doused the fire.
Ruth hurried to pick up their things. ‘Do we reach Bethlehem today?’
‘Yes, today.’ Naomi sighed. ‘We will be there soon.’
‘Then why so forlorn?’ Ruth hurried ahead intent on finding a way for her mother-in-law to walk that would make her journey as easy as possible. ‘I thought you would be happy to see your home and your people again!’
‘Why would you think that?’ Naomi spat the words at her daughter-in-law.
Ruth turned and looked at Naomi with sad eyes. ‘Come now, there must be a bright spot in your mind. I’m sure there is something good that you can think about.’
Everyone knew Naomi was abrupt, even Ruth. Yet even she was surprised when the old woman stopped in mid-stride and insisted, ‘I have had all the joy in my life that the Lord—blessed be He—seems to want me to have. Now stop pestering me!’
Ruth nodded and they walked on in silence—Ruth ahead, Naomi behind. About noon, Ruth rounded a bend in the road. She could see the little hamlet ahead. ‘Naomi, it is just as you described it to me! Look!’
Naomi came along side Ruth and looked at her home with the longing of a weary traveler. She doubled her pace and walked quickly to the gate of the town.
Many recognized her and joyfully exclaimed, ‘Look Naomi is back!’
‘Do not call me Naomi, for that name means blessed,’ she admonished them. ‘Call me “Mara” that means bitter. Because I went out full but have come back empty.’ Before anyone could respond, she walked away. Ruth followed in her footsteps.”
Sharon looked up from the pages she had read and cleared her throat. “Many have asked me, ‘Is it always like this? Do we never see the gift God has placed right in front of us? Are we all destined to be like Naomi, discounting the unexpected gift of God?’ Well, yes, I think we are, for there was a greater gift. God told us about the coming of this miraculous gift of his love, the signs, and miracles that would reveal his identity to the nation of Israel. He told us to watch for the times and the trials of his perfect gift, the gift that would take away the sins of the world. Yet we missed it, for we are like Naomi. We look at life and God’s blessing through our own lens rather than his revealed Word. Just as Naomi did not recognize the blessing that Ruth was until she laid her grandson, Obed, in her lap, we do not understand the blessing Messiah is until we surrender our lives and appoint him Lord of all.
Like Naomi, we too have a process to undergo. For this experience to begin, each of us must let go of our entitlement and ask God to become our God, our Savior, and our Redeemer. That is the only thing that sets us free. Therefore, we are not to judge Naomi. Rather, we are to read this portion of Scripture, which calls each of us to look upon our human condition and understand how God can transform us through the miraculous intervention of his love. For Ruth so loved Naomi that she gave up her whole life to be with her. God calls us to do no less than Ruth did. For God’s Son laid down his life for us so that whomever would believe in him shall never perish but have eternal life.
There is more, for the gift goes on. It goes on through you and through me. God multiplies our efforts and magnifies his glory as he uses us, frail, earthly vessels that we are, to accomplish his purpose. Just as Ruth was the mother of Obed, and he is in the line of Messiah, we are the children of God’s pasture, and it is his good pleasure to use us when and how he sees fit. We, like Ruth, must be ready to give up our expectations, move wherever God calls, and do what he asks so that we may glorify him in every joy and every trial and for all seasons, for that is how the unexpected gift will become the blessing God intends it to be.”

Monday, April 22, 2013

Historical Fiction: Accuracy or Readability, by Paula Rose

Since this blog was set up to include information and my thoughts on writing, I’m posting about that today. Hoping to mix it up a bit, I’m taking a look at the juxtaposition which occurs when writers of historical fiction or fiction which requires historical knowledge have to choose between…

Historical Fiction: Accuracy vs. Readability

Several years ago, I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers because I knew I needed to communicate with published authors, and writers who want to publish, as a means of visualizing my goal of becoming a published author. A few months later, I joined an on line chat for historical fiction writers and authors. Becoming a member of this group has proven invaluable to me for we affirm and support each other. Since this unique genre requires skills and hours of research, that other fiction does not, having people to discourse with about my craft has bolstered me up. I have spent hours isolated while researching little known facts, and been blessed to share my journey with others who need to hear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

All of this might sound as boring as dirt to you. However, without checking every conceivable link that could yield information, the author of historical fiction has possibly done a shoddy job making her work a potential target of ridicule. Writing historical fiction is not for the faint of heart.

Both this and last month’s writers loop, focused on several things historical writers deal with. Since I found the discourse stimulating, I hope you will too.

Question: How do you handle it when writing things in a historically accurate manner makes it difficult to read by a modern day reader?


·        There is a fine line between the historical accuracy needed to set the stage and pull your reader into the setting. Write so the reader can see the story unfolding in their minds eye, but refrain from being so accurate that you lose the reader because the story is shrouded in history that it creates a barrier making it impossible for the reader to identify with the characters.

·        When being historically accurate creates a barrier between your reader and your characters, you may have become too historically accurate.

·        If the language is too stilted or obscure it is difficult to read.

·        Having read hundreds of books in my genre, I have gotten a feel for the dialogue of the era and that seems to give me the words. 

·        When looking at the language of a period, for example the 18th century, many wonder about using contractions. Researchers discovered that contractions were used throughout the history of the English language, and are found in the fiction of the mid-18th century.

Question: When does using the terminology of the period make reading what I have written so difficult to read that I might lose my audience?

·        Most people who pick your novel are going to know exactly what these words mean because they read historical fiction.

·        Research your work, and read fictions written in the period your story is set in.

·        Write so that your reader will get lost in the story, merging with the time-period that the story takes place in. However, be careful that there is nothing jarring in the text because that can bring them back to the present.

·        Use enough archaic language so the reader relates to the time-period, and knows that the characters do not talk quite as we do.

·        When using archaic, or a foreign language, one needs to make sure that there is enough context around the word for the reader to be able to figure out the words meaning.

·        Read a book aloud that is set in the same time and location. Then read your text aloud. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Did You Ever_ _? Well I Did! by Paula Michelson

Did you ever start writing a book knowing that you wrote well but lacked the mechanical skill sets needed to insure a good edit? I did!

Did you ever start writing a book without knowing it? Well I did!

Did you ever find yourself writing a story other than the one you planned? I bet you know by now that I’m going to tell you...I did! And you’re right! I did!

Now to some this sounds like the most harebrained idea one could concoct, and you’re right! That’s why I love telling people that I didn't make this happen, Messiah did! Don’t you love it when the Lord takes the reins and takes you on a journey you never signed up for?

Oh, that hasn't happened to you? Well it will if you yield to his leading! You've done that and nothing’s changed. Then let me suggest that you’re still in your comfort zone. You know the place where everything makes sense. It’s that comfortable place where your bills get paid on time, everyone at work is your friend, and the people at the grocery store know you by name. It’s the place where our illusion of doing what the Lord challenged to do might be pushed off to one side because we don’t want to make waves. Yep, you know what I mean! It’s the place where we never have to “Cast all our cares on him because he cares for us” cause we’re busy caring for ourselves.

Sometimes, especially during these stressful times, it’s easier to hide out instead of calling God our hiding place, a place where we’re protected from the troubles that surrounds us. It seems to me that right now many of us aren't listening for songs of deliverance, because we don’t know what that is. Or sadder yet, we’re looking for the government, our local officials, or our family to deliverer us. Perhaps we don’t even believe in deliverance or a deliver. So the words found in Proverbs 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight," are just a bunch of gibberish.  

However, I have it on good authority that everything that comes around goes around, meaning you have only one ticket to ride so make it count for eternity! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Winning by Default, by Paula Rose

A few years ago, I entered a story contest for writers. I had never entered anything like that before, and I hoped my work would be good enough to raise and eyebrow or two. I even imagined the judges saying to each other as they passed my work along, “Not bad…this shows potential.” I must admit that my fantasies soared so high that I envisioned them smiling as they proclaimed, “This is the obvious winner!”
            I am certain that all the writers who entered their work were as anxious as I was to discover who had won. The day before the committee was to announce the winner, I discovered that only one entry could win since all but one had submitted their best, but the submissions were not stories.
            Disqualification of my work was not an option, so I told myself that I had won. “Hurray,” you might say. “Good job!”
            However, the idea of winning by default crept in. Now you might wonder why I did this to myself and so did I. Then I remembered the Jewish rabbis’ attitude towards people, God, and life. These wise men understood how we view the world and they discovered the use of the word adequate covered everything we would experience from cradle to casket. They taught us that when you are born – you are adequate. When you’re a Bar or Bat Mitzvah – your adequate. When you marry – you are adequate. When you graduate college – you are adequate. When you become a Roads Scholar, a doctor, a humanitarian, invent a means of illuminating nuclear waste, solve the problems of the world, and unify the solar system – you are adequate. In Judaism, one can never be more than adequate because according the rabbi’s we would be elevating ourselves to a position, which belongs to God alone. 
            This philosophy is valid until we apply it to God incarnate, Yeshua HaMashiach …Christ. In Him, we see the deity of the Godhead and all the humanity of man. Since he called us to be His and walk in a manner worthy of Him, I found myself wondering what He would think of wining or to be more specific, what would He thing about winning by default.
            I sought Him, turned to Isaiah 55:8, and read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
            I ponder these words, thought about the apostle Paul, and realized that he gave up everything. I assumed that he had wanted the rabbis to consider him adequate. Yet when Messiah called, he gave his desires no credence – none at all. And we are asked to do likewise.
            Now I understand that winning by default or not winning has no value whatsoever unless I am trying to garner applause from men. If that is where my focus is, I will always loose in the end because the things of this world will perish. Only when I strive towards the goal, which is Messiah himself, do I win for then I remember that in Him, I am more than a conqueror!        

Sunday, April 7, 2013

God at Work, Author Unknown

I received this from my friend, Joyce with a request that I pass it on as one would a chain letter. Since I have never participated in those, I was tempted to delete the missive. However, the title, “God at Work,” caught my eye and I’m glad it did because the true story contained within in is precious and priceless. That’s why I posted it, hope you enjoy it, and ask you to invite others to the blog so they can experience “God at Work.”

A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even the total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. 

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention, but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it! 

“And what do you want,” the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. “I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages,” he said without waiting for a reply to his question. 

Well, I want to talk to you about my brother,” Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. “He's really, really sick...and I want to buy a miracle.” 

“I beg your pardon?” said the pharmacist. 

“His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?” 

“We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you,” the pharmacist said, softening a little. 

Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs.” 

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, “What kind of a miracle does your brother need?” 

“I don't know,' Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money.”

“How much do you have,” asked the man from Chicago.  

“One dollar and eleven cents,” Tess answered barely audibly. “And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.”

Well, what a coincidence,” smiled the man. “A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers.” He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said “Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need.”

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. 

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. “That surgery,” her Mom whispered, “was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?” 

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost..one dollar and eleven cents....plus the faith of a little child. 

In our lives, we never know how many miracles we will need. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law. I know you'll keep the ball moving! Here it goes. Throw it back to someone who means something to you!

A ball is a circle, no beginning, no end. It keeps us together like our Circle of Friends. But the treasure inside for you to see is the treasure of friendship you've granted to me. 

Today I pass the friendship ball to you. Pass it on to someone who is a friend to you.


When you are sad.....I will dry your tears. 

When you are scared.....I will comfort your fears. 

When you are worried.....I will give you hope. 

When you are confused.......I will help you cope. 

And when you are lost...And can't see the light, I shall be your beacon .... Shining ever so bright. 

This is my oath......I pledge till the end. Why you may ask?.......Because you're my friend. 

Signed: GOD

Monday, April 1, 2013

From "Why Johnny Can’t Read," to See Paula Write, by Paula Rose

Whether I was perusing the book selection of the drugstore or walking down the isle at a bookstore, my quest was always the same. I wanted to select a novel about people I might want to meet, written by a person, I might want to know. That was important to me because as I read the books I selected, some of the characters became my friends, and their internal landscape influenced mine. Because of this, I learned many important things without having to live the lesson since the characters did that for me. Believing this may be true for you as well, I’ve written this piece. You'll notice a degree of levity, I seldom use in my writing, so let me being by saying, "I am not pulling any punches. What I've written is ALL true, and because of that, the miracle of God calling me to write is truly miraculous indeed!"

From “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” to See Paula Write”

When I was a new believer I read Ezekiel 11:19. "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." Little did I know back then all that this verse would mean to me, or how many times God would challenge me beyond what I felt was my breaking point by this Scripture. However, coming to Messiah (Christ) at forty, I had much to learn, and God put me into, and took me out of situations, and relationships to mold me into this. What you might wonder, is the 'this,' that I have become? Well, I’ll tell you, it certainly isn’t the 'this' that everyone thought I would be. For as far back as my family and I can remember there was never anyone quite like the 'me' I became in Christ, for the beloved transformed me!
But, let me tell you who I was, so you’ll be able to track with me. Ah, that’s easier said than done, to paraphrase a tune that was popular when I was younger, leaner, and couldn’t learn. Yep! That’s right. The book on my mother’s bedside table was titled “Why Johnny Can’t Read." I didn’t know that cause I couldn’t…read, that is. In fact, I only discovered the name of the book once I could, you know… read. By now, you’re probably wondering how a kid born into a family of an up and coming Aerospace Engineer who built the fuel cell that got us into space couldn’t read. My parents and the school wondered about that too, but in the fifties, everyone relied on the doctors who visited the school to give them a heads up if there was a problem with any of us kids. Every time I saw the doc, I got a clean bill of health, eye exam and all, which leads me to believe that the guy needed to have his eyes examined!
Now here comes the hyperbole, which if our parents were speaking would be an, “extravagant exaggeration.” If you think I’m kidding, look it up! I did cause as much as I knew that it was the word I wanted to use, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure how to spell it, and I wanted to make sure it was the right word! See what taking a short cut through the first four years of elementary school will get you…a major need for dictionaries, spell-checking, and the like! However, I digress. Now, if you’re like I was, almost the most nearsighted person ever born, with very little peripheral vision, there’s only one thing that can make your learning experience a worse catastrophe than the cards you were dealt. That’s being born with a last name that begins with a letter which will absolutely put you in the chair furthest away from the blackboard, and as surly as I’m telling this tail, that’s just what happened to yours truly! That’s why I call this ditty, “From Why Johnny Can’t Read to See Paula Write.” Speaking of little ditty’s, if you’re interested in what I mean, look at the refrain from Roger Miller’s song “Little Green Apples” which goes, ‘God didn’t make little green apples and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.’ Now that’s poetic license if you ask me, and silly to the core! Yet when I look back on the one summer I had to learn everything all my classmates learned in four years, what’s a little silly between friends?
I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the ability to laugh at our troubles that we hopefully learn to do before we meet the Lord. Because when were facing bad stuff without him, we’d better know how to laugh or we’ll cry ourselves a river. Though if the truth were told, and that’s what I’m sharing with you, I just learned to be silly this year! You’re probably wondering why it took me so long. Well, I’ll tell you since you seem interested. First, I had to learn how to learn, and then I had to accept myself with all my fears, foibles, and failures. By the time I did all that, I was nineteen and ready to get married, so I found a great guy who loved me back, and we walked down the isle, into wedded bliss and baby diapers galore cause back in the day, pampers didn’t exist. Fact is, back then some of us didn’t even have a clothes dryer. Living close to the ocean in the winter meant hanging the didies, as in diapers all over the house. Between babies, bottles, didies, and “The Hubb’s,” life went on happily well into my thirties when I intentionally took myself to college. Now, I must confess that I'd  graduated Beauty College, gotten my Cosmetology License, and gone to work so my guy could finish college. And I must have been a pretty good student, cause I was offered an open-ended scholarship to return and study to become an instructor. Honestly, with my learning curve would you have signed up for that? Course not and neither did I!
However, a strange thing happened on my way to maturity, I discovered I would do whatever I could to make certain my kids had a great start. Anything, including the best preschool I could afford. I didn’t want my kids to end up being taken by the scruff of the neck, by the teacher, and led to the one remaining chair as I was, while she whispered in a voice loud enough to wake the dead, “I’m sitting you next to the smart girl. If you need any help, ask her.” What a confidence builder that was! And, I must add, it was a great way to begin the school year cause everyone knows the really cool kids want to hang out with “the class dummy.” So, given my druthers, I’d have rather run away from “The Hubb’s” who was, and still is the love of my life, than send my kids to school unprepared! Well, boy howdy! Guess where the best preschool was? Give up? Well, I’ll confess! It was part of the local J.C., as in Junior College, which we have here in California and funny thing, they had room for my sweetie pie! But I had to be enrolled in the College to get her in. So, I kid you not, I’m sittin here today with a 4.0 grade point average, which in my day was the highest GPA you could have, all because of sweetie pie, who is now thirty plus, and has preschoolers of her own.
All of this my friend, brings me to writing, or as we authors used to say, penning my prose. Wow! I only had to try three alternate spellings to get spell-check to figure out what I meant! This is a red-letter moment…time to ring the bell! It may sound a bit trite, but I think it’s a hoot that a gal who graduated third in her J.C. class, and went on to teach lots of stuff to some smart people is still humbled by the first thing that happened which, taught her, "I’m nothing special unless I’m doing something for someone, or answering a higher call." I’ve been doing that all my like, but in a more focused was since March 2007, when God called me to write about the progeny of a small, and relatively unknown group of Jews called Sephardim that were trapped by the Inquisition, forced into Catholicism to survive, but continued to practice their faith at home. 
Before I go any further, remember my saying that I only got funny this year. Well I can prove it! Yep! Way back, way before College, both Beauty, and the J.C., people saw me as bookish, and they were right! When you can’t read, and finally can, the light goes on! You know what I mean? It’s like trying to figure out the Scriptures without the Holy Spirit, and then getting every nuance once you receive that Divine gift. Boy oh boy, as a Jew, I sure remember when the light went on and I came to know a lot about Messiah! I still remember a lot about not understanding the Scripture before then. However, that’s a topic for another day.
So being obviously bookish, as in there was always one in my hand, or I was telling someone about something I read. And being married to “The Hubb’s” who'd  gone to College to become a English teacher, and took classes like Zoology for the fun of it, it took people about two minutes to size me up, and say, “You should be a librarian.” Funny, I finally spelled that word right after all these years, but don’t get to excited, I spelled right, wrong. However, the system corrected it! Nice computer…what would I do without you?
Now, back to the library, if there was one thing I did under-sort-of-stand, it was the Dewey Decimal System. Do any of you out there in reader-land remember that? Well, they put numbers, the name of the book, and the authors’ name, on index cards, but backwards as in ‘all literary people know that library filling systems are backwards.’ I kid you not! The numbers where the first thing you saw when you opened the drawer where the cards were filed. Now if you remember my saying, “I don’t do math on the fly,” oh you don’t remember me saying that until now? My Ops! But…let’s continue, what do you think I did? You’re right! I knew I couldn’t begin to figure out that secret, and even if I did, I didn’t know where to look for the book, so I asked the librarian, after all that’s what she was there for. However, given my age, if you’re in the library, and ask the librarian for help it’s probably not the same one I asked. By the way, if you think asking or looking things up isn’t using the old gray-matter to its best, Einstein...as in Albert, said when he was asked how he came up with all his theories, “I never memorize anything that I can look up.” Yessiree bob, as in Bob’s Big Boy, Einstein, and me, we be buds!
But I digress! I had this desire which, if the truth were known, as in I’m telling it to you now, had been fanned for over ten years by a sweet sister in the Lord. I'd gifted her one of my writings as a wedding present and once she read it she kept asking me, “Are you writing?” Ten years of that sort of gets a girl thinking. So having nothing better to do once my workday was over but to wait for “The Hubbs” to get back from work at ten, and there being nothing on the boob-tube to watch, but repeats, inane reality shows, and hour long promos for everything I never needed, I sat down at the computer for forty days, and wrote. Oops I forgot, first I said a prayer, asked for prayer, and discovered some of my friends were Sephardic, go figure! See, God was in this all the time! They gave me some literature, I did a ton and a half of research, and then I started to write.
Now if you remember in Genesis 8: 6-7 the Scripture says, "...after forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth." Well, interestingly enough, I was sending my daily draft to this friend, and after forty days, she emailed me back. “You’ve begun to write a book!” I though she was “pullin' my proverbial leg,” cause all I was doing was writing a character sketch for the book I thought I was going to write. I had it sort of all fleshed out in my thinker. It was going to be about three women who meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail, and how the believing one shares her faith with them as they walk along. I had no, absolutely no plans, to write a book about this Sephardic girl named Naomi! I was writing sketches about her as a means of getting to know her before I began to write the story. This reminds me of that old maxim  “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Remember that one? If you did, you have a better thinker than I had, cause it never occurred to me that my friend was right! 
However, once I went back, and read what I’d written, I discovered that Isaiah 55:8 seemed to be written just for me! It says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord." So here I was, fully commissioned to a calling I felt ill prepared to fulfill, as in call the other gal…please! Nevertheless, being a Messianic Jew, which means rather stiff-necked, but interested, I began to write and, the oddest thing happened, the characters began to speak to me, and tell me their stories. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Bring in the net! This one’s ready for the loony bin!” But I was, and am as sane as you are. Know why I know? Cause having graduated with honors, I went back to school, yes sir! J.C. you had me at hello! This time I studied to become of all things, a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Counselor. Which is just a fancy- smanchy way of saying, I found another way to read interesting stuff, meet some really smart people, and help out those that needed a caring person to listen to them, and hold them accountable, kind of like we do when we’re discipling, and teaching others about Gods Word, and our Messianic (Christian) walk.

So, when the characters began to talk, I listened. After all, that’s what a counselor does, listen, which if you ask my friends they’ll tell you is something I have trouble doing. However, if your anointed and appointed, whether it's to listen to someone strung out on drugs, or to the blessing of hearing what I, to this day, believe was a God breathed revelation of what I was to write, it's amazing how quiet you become. Why? I’ll tell you why, cause when you’re called, I believe God has already fashioned you to answer the calling. In fact, if we look at good old Moe…Moses to you, we know this for a fact. You don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look. First, when the dude finally owns his roots, he tries to stop a fight and ends up having to hotfoot it out of Egypt in a hurry…which if we know and trust in God, we won’t do! Now the second way is Gods way! Here we see God calling, and appointing Moses, and when God sends him back, good old Moe is equipped, and accomplishes Gods’ purpose.

That’s the way it is with me, and you! 
"Me?" you ask? 
Of course you! Why do you think I’m writing this piece? It isn't cause I have nothing better to do! I still have the last novel of the six to write. You heard me right, six novels in the Casa Saga. Five down and one more to go! Then it’s on to the next assignment, another series, and another blessing yet to be revealed! So ya see, I have plenty to do. I’m writing this for you so that you’ll know that whatever God has called you to do, if you receive his commission wholeheartedly, and move forward trusting he will meet you at the burning bush, or anywhere else you need him! One day you’ll be telling others how God took you, and used you in a way you were never prepared to be used. You’ll be singing his praises, and it won’t matter if anyone asks why you enjoy being a servant of the Servant King, the one who will return to reign in glory. For all the reward people like you, and me will ever need is serving him, as he called us to, even if it means doing the one thing we know we can’t do. After all, we know that everything here will fade away, so why not answer Gods call, and store up in glory what matters for eternity! Ezekiel was right after all, when God puts a “New Spirit” in you, what else can you do but respond joyfully to his!