Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

May your evening be spooktacularly terrific!

Surrendering to Him,

Friday, October 28, 2011

Not Twelve Hours Ago . . .

I knelt on the cold, sandy arena floor holding my baby.

Praising God that I can write this post today.

Hubby rarely does barn duty with me and the girls, but last night he did. There the two of us got chatting with other barn parents of horse-loving kids as our youngest daughter took Donner into the indoor arena to begin her ride.

We positioned ourselves outside the viewing window just before hubby blurted, "Oh no."

My eyes locked through the Plexiglas window on a child hanging sideways on a cantering horse.

Our child.

On our seventeen-hand horse acting nothing like himself.

As we bolted to the arena door we heard a sickening crash and thud. (Ten years as a horse mom has me hearing a lot of these, and every time my heart stops, then quickly reboots.)

First line of vision is our horse prancing toward the other end of the arena. His reins aren`t dangling. He`ll be okay.

The coach and hubby are at Cassandra`s side. I can see her legs flayed up against the side board. I zero in on her knees. Please God don`t let them have dislocated again.

They`re okay. Both knees of my near-crippled-child-of-late are safely positioned. Thank you, Lord!

I turn to retrieve our horse who is now in the thick of ponies with their mounted riders at the far end of the arena.

"Eileen!" Not hubby`s voice.

Panic sears me. That`s the coach`s, Laura`s, voice. She never asks for parents to come until the child is up and walking. Phil`s already breaking the cardinal rule of "stay away until she's up".

Her imploring glare has me buckle over.

". . . your daughter." I don`t know how, but now the coach is behind me and I`m kneeling over my baby girl.

I either thought she was dead or I took her seizure as a sign of no spinal injuries. I turned her contorted torso to hold her head in my lap. "Don`t move her," ricocheted off the side board from numerous people.

Stupid me. But there was no way I was going to let go of my baby now. All I could do was keep her as still as possible in the position I had her. Cradled in my lap and arms.

"She`s seizing." I cried. Her ashin face bold against the stark black helmet. Her eyes open, but not seeing.
Tremors worked her otherwise lifeless body.

People gathered. But I saw none of them.

I wrapped her soul more than her body in my arms for fear of injuring my girl more. "Dear Heavenly Father I ask you to heal my girl. Bring her back to us, Lord. Please God, heal my baby. In Jesus His precious name please God bring her back to us." It felt like minutes/hours that I prayed aloud over my baby.

The tremors ceased.

Praise God! He listened. He answered the way I wanted Him to! Praise God!

But Cassandra still didn`t come back to us.

"Cassandra, do you hear me?"

"Cassandra, Mommy's holding you, do you feel pain anywhere?"

"Cassie, do you feel your toes?"

Then her tears came.

Then sobbing. Precious, lovely sobbing. My girl could sob all day if she wanted to now. She was making her way back to us!

"Thank you, Lord!"

As I write this post, I'm tucked into our comfy round chair in our home and Cassandra is sitting on our curved couch across from me working on an assignment. Crayons rush rapidly over paper to colour a treasure box for a school project. She has a badly beaten tail bone, not broken. Praise God! She has a headache that prescribed Motrin is tackling. She's alive. She's all that she was before this incident, just a little worse for wear. And I'm still praising God!

We spent over four hours in ER last night. Of which near three of those hours Cassandra lay bruised and hurting secured to a board for fear of spinal injuries. Her butt hurt, and I loved hearing every complaint her sweet voice rang out while we waited. It's not every day a mother can say that!

The Doctor has assured us that her seizure was a response to her head injury. There is no reason to be concerned that she may have Epilepsy unless she experiences another seizure without obvious cause.
We are gifted with yet another day to raise our three precious daughters, and I'm PRAISING GOD!!

May we all see the beauty in every mundane complaint that our children and loved ones cry out. It is a gift. And after last night, I choose to praise God for it!!!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is Wordiness a Part of Your Writer's Voice?

Okay this picture has nothing to do with my question, but isn't Emma just so cute? She's forever finding tight nooks to curl up into and this time it's my Hawaii bag that I see has my missing pencil case in it. So that's where it's been hiding! Thanks, Emma!

Do you ever do brainstorming with a writing buddy? Well, I did that right after my devotional time this morning and this particular fabulous writer, who is the queen of tightness, had also suggested I send her something of mine to read.

Okay, I'm going to be completely honest here (not that I'm not always honest, I just usually choose carefully what honesty to disclose on-line, like I'm sure we all do for good reason) but I hummed and hawwed over whether or not to send those chapters because . . . well, I'm wordy, and she's JUST NOT! Now I love this writer's stories, so however she tightens her writing it works wonderfully for me, but when I try to tighten my stories like she does I feel like something gets lost along the way, and that's what made me ask myself "Can wordiness be a part of my writer's voice?"

I suggested in my email that she's busy (she is on deadline afterall), so to not critique but rather just point out any glaring issues she might discover along the way of reading my manuscript. I'm feeling especially weak today, I guess. Told my hubby I think I'm PMSing and he suggested he was having sympathy pangs of it, too, so there'll be no consoling hugs this week, I suspect. :(

Even as I write this I sit in trepidation suspecting that she's going to tear that baby to shreds. And if she does I know it will be a blessing, even if it leaves me scarred and with mega work ahead. Am I alone, or do others feel this same angst when they send their work off to writer's who are far superior to themselves, even after seven years of doing so and living through it? I wonder, does a writer ever get beyond that fear?

I know I have to keep pushing myself to get better. And putting our work out there to writer's below, at, and above our writing level is one of the best ways to learn and grow. But discerning how much tightening to do while protecting my own voice and style is something I grapple with on a daily basis.

So you tell me, when is wordiness just wordiness that needs to be addressed as a writer and when is it a part of your writer's voice and needs protecting?

Surrendering to Him,


Monday, October 24, 2011

A Gift Unused is . . .

God's grace denied.
A profound thought. At least for me it is.
Consider the following verse:
"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various form..." 1 Peter 4:10

I've always thought of God's grace as an amazing gift that I don't deserve, but so thankful to have. But never before did I really consider that I could be used as a vessel to deliver His grace to another person. According to Peter, though, we are to be faithful in administering God's grace through the gifts we are given.
We are instruments through which God extends His grace to others. Doesn't that make our responsibility to discover our gifts all the more important? It does to me.

P.S. I'm in need of this today, so I'm reposting from an October 2008 post. Hope this verse speaks to you today, too!

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, October 21, 2011


Life is rarely black and white and neither are goodbye's.

Goodbye's often come with mixed emotions.

Sadness for what is lost. Anticipation for the future and what opportunities it might afford. Perhaps a portion of hurt is blended in, too. Feeling let down, cast aside, unimportant enough to keep the person around. Loneliness. An unease that makes your insides feel brittle.

How do goodbyes speak to you?

Last Sunday we said goodbye to our pastor of five years. I will miss her sermons (I can honestly say that not one of her sermons lulled me to sleep, which is far more than I can say for a few of the speakers we have had in the past), and I'll miss the understanding we were gradually building of one another. I'm not the easiest person to get to know, so trust is an exercise in patience. There are times when I feel that this chapter at our church was cut much too short, though I saw the end coming quite a while ago.

I mourn what could have been.

See, time is the most precious of gifts, I think. Given enough time a deep, special report can be built between pastor and parishioner. A respect and meaningful understanding that can work wonders in the running of God's church can be formed. But that takes time. It takes conflicts and working through them, it takes growing side by side and learning how each other ticks and respecting each other's ways.

But now that time has come to an end and we must start all over, afresh, with whoever God sends our way.

Though I trust that God is in control and what is to come is healthier for everyone involved, I still question this detour put before us. But most of all, I pray that we continue to grow together as a congregation, being an instrument through which God works in our community and beyond.

Are you mourning a loss, today? May I lift it in prayer for you?

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Kitchens

I know I've said it before that I love all seasons and that I'm always ready for the next by the time it rolls around. But one of my favourite parts of fall is the harvest. And so I have to share this recipe with you all, as it just tastes of fall to me.

As you work away at whatever you've got on your chore list this fall, I hope you'll brighten your day and scent your home with this baked Apple Torte. It's easy to put together, but looks and tastes like a well-practiced chef created it. Trust me, I'm not one of those, so if I can create this and my whole family love it, so can you!

Bavarian Apple Torte  

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 pkg (250 g) Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups peeled sliced crisp apples
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Crust: Combine butter, sugar and vanilla. Blend in flour. Spread dough on bottom and 1-inch up sides of a 9-inch springform pan. I use a pie pan and that works well too! Note: If you haven't planned ahead to get things to room temperature, a few seconds in the microwave does wonders!

Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar until well blended. This takes a bit, but make sure you get it good and smooth. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Spread evenly over the crust.

Topping: Combine sugar and cinnamon. Toss apples in sugar mixture. Place in pinwheel pattern over cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 F and continue baking 25 minutes longer. Cool on wire rack. Chill 3 hours before serving.

Serves: 8 (or if you're watching your delicate figure, it could easily serve 16)
Preparation time: 20 minutes (do it while pondering a plot issue to multi-task)
Baking time: 35 minutes (and in this fall air, it nicely helps to heat your home and scent it all in one)


Surrendering to Him,


Monday, October 17, 2011

Grueling work!

There's a reason I've been absent from the blogosphere and social networking for a bit. I've been hiding behind my Kindle and as a direct result of that, I've been struggling to fix the broken pieces of my manuscript.
See, I can't, seriously CAN'T, not edit my stories when I read them on a computer or even when I print them out. But when I send it to my Kindle, I find I can just input quick notes on occasion and keep moving forward with the read. Sadly, with this one, I discovered some ill-ordered scenes, missing pieces . . . still, and areas that need a whole lot of tightening yet.
When I finished the read I felt overwhelmed once more. I had such hopes that it was near perfect when I mailed that baby to my Kindle address, only to discover that in my patch-work method of editing, I'd missed a lot. Thankfully, one of my wonderful writing buddies sent me notes on how to save a manuscript. (Thanks, Sandra!)
I'm at the storyboard stage and having fun with brightly coloured (yes, I am Canadian, so that's how I spell it) sticky notes lined up on an accordion of folded paper. I love working with 8 1/2 X 11 sheets of paper that I can tuck inside a clear sleeve within my story duo tang that holds my character sheets, this-and-that notes pertinent to my story creation, pictures, etc.
Some like to post a wall with stickies to create their storyboard. Other's use Excell and keep it all neat and tidy on their computer. Still, others make use of a whiteboard or some other surface of choice. Where you create this storyboard doesn't matter, as long it works for you.
The more I struggle through the grueling work of polishing this novel, the more I realize that I need to infuse some fun into it, and for me that means colourful stickies on a long transportable accordion of papers right now so that I can get this ordering of scenes right and fill in the missing blanks on the move.
What do you do to keep plugging along when nasty reality strikes you? Have you ever created a storyboard? Did it save you time in the long run

Surrendering to Him,


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Introducing Fit For Faith by Kimberley Payne

Today marks the launch of Kimberley Payne's e-book Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual & physical health.

As a special promotion, today’s buyers will get free gifts for each copy of Fit for Faith that they purchase.

For details on the book, launch, and promotions please visit:
Kimberley Payne's site.

An Interview with Kimberley Payne

Author of Fit for Faith - 7 weeks to improved spiritual & physical health

Are you looking for balance in your life? Believing that prayer, Bible study and journal writing are to the spirit what exercise, healthy eating and stretching are to the body, this workbook unites spiritual health and physical health through a 7-week program to lose weight and develop a deeper relationship with God. This workbook is a motivational tool to empower women to improve their health to live balanced, whole and joyous lives that glorify God.

1. How was the idea for the book born?

Although I was born and raised within the church, it wasn't until I attended a Christian women's retreat that I realized how much I had compartmentalized my life: family in one corner, work in another; finances here, health there, faith over there. I began to see that my faith shouldn't be kept partitioned off from the rest of my life. Instead, it needed to be intertwined with all the parts of my life. If I was going to follow Him as my Lord, God wanted me to include Him in everything and that included my health and fitness.

2. What authority do you have to write this book?

I certified as a Weight Instructor through the YMCA, then went on to certify as an Aerobics Instructor through A.C.E., then went on to certify as a Personal Fitness through Can-Fit-Pro.

3. There are many fitness books on the market. How is Fit for Faith any different?

Fit for Faith makes no assumptions about the reader’s spiritual walk. All levels, whether a new Christian or a mature Christian, can benefit from this program. It is a program for a new Christian who wants to learn about prayer, journal writing and Bible study in the comfort of their own home, but a mature Christian can still be refreshed in their faith and re-commit to a daily relationship with God. It is motivating with inspiring reflections included each day and Christian truths set forth in a non-threatening manner.

Fit for Faith makes no assumptions about the activity level of the reader. All levels, whether a sedentary individual or a seasoned athlete, can benefit from this program. It emphasizes overall health, not just weight loss. Expertise and professionalism are provided throughout the program in easy-to-read “fit tips” and goal-planning assistance. The program includes strategies that empower people to make small changes in their daily routines to improve the quality of their life.

Fit for Faith is a well-rounded balanced program that follows the stages of change and so inspires confidence and builds esteem.

4. What is your purpose in writing this book?
The purpose in writing is to share knowledge from the health and fitness field and to demonstrate that partnership with God always leads to success, in every area of life. It is designed with the message of the gospel at its heart.

5. What is involved in the 7-week program?
The Fit for Faith program starts with developing an action plan that includes exploring benefits and success strategies of exercising, healthy eating, and stretching the body and the spirit. Then, the reader moves into implementing the plan through a daily program of prayer, Bible study and tracking of healthy habits. Each week is capped with a review that is a natural lead into the next week.

6. Can the book be used in a group setting?

Fit for Faith is a simple workbook to support a person through their day. It is designed for individuals to participate on their own at any hour, and anywhere. However, the workbook is extremely versatile and has proven success as a group program. Leader’s Notes are available to work within a group setting that can also be used as an outreach program within a church or workplace.

7. What are the benefits of the program?

It's like having your own personal trainer, without the cost. There is a ton of useful information that helps the reader wade through the myths and misconceptions that are out there.

It's an awareness program. The reader is accountable to record their activities, and this helps to recognize where their strengths are and what areas they need to improve.

It's a lifestyle change. Over the 7 weeks, the reader will gain habits that last a lifetime.

8. Do you offer workshops/presentations based on the book?
Yes, my main three presentations are:

Fit for Prayer
Learn how to fit prayer and physical activity into your daily routine
This workshop unites physical health and spiritual health to lose weight and develop a deeper relationship with God. In this highly interactive session, you will gain insight into how to incorporate prayer and fitness into your daily round.

Food for thought
Find out how to nourish your body and spirit through healthy eating and Bible study
Just as eating healthy foods nourishes your body, Bible study nourishes your spirit. You will learn practical suggestions and scriptural guidance to achieve your goals. Feel the joy of a healthier and more spiritually fit life.

Flex your Spirit
Discover a new way to express yourself with God through journal writing and stretching
Taking care of yourself physically is one way to honor God with your body. Your thoughts and emotions directly influence your physical health. Learn how to recharge your physical and emotional health through stretching activities for your body and spirit.

9. Where else can we find you on the Internet?
Facebook: Kimberley Payne, author & speaker
YouTube: Fit4Faith channel

Notes from Eileen:

I've just begun looking at Fit for Faith and so far I'm pumped to treat my body as the temple God intended it to be, in eating, fitness, and growing in spirituality. I hope you will be as encouraged by what Kimberley has to say in this e-book as I am.

Surrendering to Him,


Friday, October 7, 2011

Seeking, again.

I just discovered today that we are seeking a new pastor for our church.

There's something hauntingly numbing about that. Perhaps it's because it's still sinking in, and that we only had her for five years.

That sixth sense of mine had me suspecting our pastor's resignation was on it's way, but still, I find myself anxious about the search that is about to ensue.

I'm curious, if your church has recently undergone a pastor search, what did you find helpful in seeking and narrowing down candidates? I'm not on the search committee, nor would I wish to be. But I'm wondering how other church's have included the mass parishioners in helping with the search so that the best fit for all is found.

Was a survey performed, perhaps? If so, what questions helped define the church's needs?

Please pray for our church as a whole as we traverse this pastor hunt once again, and also pray for our pastor who has made this difficult decision to resign. Many souls are affected when a pastor leaves. Strength and healing are just two of the things we need. In God's amazing grace we will get through this, though, I know.

May you all have a blessed weekend. For us in Canada, it's a long one--Thanksgiving Weekend. Happy Thanksgiving to all us Canadians!

Surrendering to Him,


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What a Difference . . .

a new computer makes.

If there is one tangible tool a writer needs this day and age, it's a "working" computer.

I've worked with a slower-than-a-slug, crash happy, burn-your-thighs kind of laptop for quite some time now. So when it crashed this weekend with heat rising from it, I knew I had to go searching for a new one.

Now I'm in the midst of transferring data from the so-close-to-dead old one to my new speedy hp laptop while eagerly writing. Well, editing really, but since I'm not dealing with a chug-kerplunk-chug-along Sally any longer, I'm enjoying this editing journey more now.

I stretched my last laptop to work for me for near six years. I'm told that's amazing. I wonder how long I should expect this one to last?

When you got a new computer, did you notice a drastic change in your writing productivity? I sure hope you did, because this is one sweet gift I'm experiencing now! [Choosing to worry about the bill later. :)]

PS. Okay, so I've discovered one bug. I can't seem to publish blog post on my new laptop. I must be missing something on that computer. Lots and lots to learn.

Surrendering to Him,