Blog Archives

Doing Nano is Not Like Riding a Bike

I have to admit that being that this is my 4th year doing NaNoWriMo, I came into it with somewhat of a cocky attitude. I’ve done this before. I just published The Road Home, the novel whose first draft I wrote during my first Nano. I’ve always come up with way more than 50k words. I got this. I can do this easy peasy. Not so fast.

Doing NaNoWrimo is not like riding a bike. Just like every day of our lives, the fact that every week has a Monday doesn’t mean that every Monday of our lives will be the same and I learned that lesson real quick this year. October 31st I was sitting on my bed, ready to start right at midnight. I hate the look of a totally blank page so I have to admit that I wrote the title of the novel before midnight, but I don’t think two words will disqualify me from the race. As soon as the clock hit midnight the race for words started and I went to bed around 12:30am with already 2k words. I was on top of the world.

Well, since the week before Nano I had been struggling with a cold, which of course doesn’t cripple my fingers, but it does fog my brain. Now I had to push through going to work, go to all the write-ins that I committed to host and the rest of my life not feeling my best. Also this year was election year and I was glued to the television waiting for the results.

The reality is that although I’m still making good stats and I’m ahead on my word count it has been quite a struggle to do so. My focus and concentration have been divided between responsibilities, life, and writing more than in years before. But also I was not counting with the editor Monster to be part of my journey. For some reason I had been able to just write out my story in years prior. This time the editor voice in my head refuses to shut up. By Day 3 I was ready to push select all then delete. I have to say that thanks to my NaNoLanta Wrimos I held back from doing it and just wrote an alternate Chapter 2 that has allowed me to go on with my story.

You may want to know, which story did I choose. As per your suggestion and my desire I’m writing “The Adulteress” and if I finish it on time I will begin Greetings from Saint Nick, but right now I don’t think that second part is going to happen, because this story has gone way out of the original plan and taken on a life of it’s own. Oh, and I have managed to write almost half of this novel and all my characters are alive. Talk about an accomplishment.

Well, let me go and stop using my blog as another method of procrastination for the struggle: I have to write this novel.

Write Wrimos Write!

Creating Believable Characters

By Suzanne Williams

There are three keys to creating believable characters, characters a reader desires to know more about and cares for. The first key is emotion. A character’s emotions create a reader’s emotions. The second key is creditability. How true to life is that character, and can the reader identify with him or her on a personal level? The third key is what I call the “male or female factor,” and I will explain that in a moment.

The character’s emotions are what draw readers into a story. In the following paragraphs, the main character, an Irishman named Michael, for multiple reasons cannot consummate his marriage with his wife. One evening, he kisses her and it sends him over the edge.

“Hands shaking, senses convulsing, Michael collapsed against a tree. What had happened?”

“His head spun, and the moment repeated itself, the sweetness of her mouth, the supple feel of her skin. He squeezed his eyes shut and floated helplessly skyward and back to earth on a swollen wave of sensation. He would have her; he would touch her again.”

“His eyes flew open at the vivid image of thirst and yearning quivering before him. She returned his feelings at last. But for his escape, they wouldn’t have stopped.”

Michael’s emotions come into the story through the use of powerful words like “shaking, convulsing, sweetness, supple, floated [and] swollen.” Now, make note that the only terms used to indicate any body parts were “mouth,” “skin,” and “eyes,” harmless enough terms, so it is the choice of adjectives that let you know he’s struggling and exactly how he feels about her.

When working with a character’s emotions, consider what the purpose of the scene is and how you feel when you read it. If you’re emotional, often the reader will be as well. And here’s something to think about. When creating emotion in a scene, I tend to go where I am uncomfortable. I have found that playing it safe leads to a boring scene.

This thought leads me to credibility. Credibility is that factor that makes a character a real person. In the same scene above, Michael, a twenty-year-old male, has fallen in love with his wife. His problem is he didn’t realize it was easier when she wasn’t returning his feelings. Now that she is, he sees the struggle in himself.

Thinking like a young man of that age and all the factors that led up to this moment are what made me write the scene as I did. I wanted him to have the same battle with his flesh that a man that age would have in the same situation.

Credibility comes into play in many other ways and with many other scenarios. Author Peter Levell once told me, “Never have two cowboys sharing a cinnamon role in a café.” I have never forgotten that advice because it holds to credibility. Two cowboys are not going to do something of that nature, and even if I write such a scene, the reader won’t believe it. I once read a western where the hero was dashing off to catch a criminal with a sandwich in his hand. Uhm. I don’t think so.

CINNAMONROLL

Now, this leads me to point number three – the “male and female factor.” I am opposed to males who speak and think like females. I’m sorry, but a man in love with his wife doesn’t want to hold her hand. He is a man, so he’ll think like a man and have the desires of a man. Similarly, a female isn’t going to deal with the same situation in the same way. When Michael’s wife approaches him later in this scene, she hasn’t a clue why he’s acting that way.

“She’d watched Michael for days, memorized his every movement, his mannerisms, until they were as familiar as her own. She saw how he tilted his head when he teased her, how the muscles in his neck flexed when he was upset. She heard him say he loved her, felt it in his gestures, and knew it when he didn’t speak. Yet to have him flee sent her spinning.”

“Isn’t this what he wanted? He wanted her to love him. Now that she did, he backed away?”*

Notice, how female she’s being. She’s spent time watching him, noticing all the funny little twitches or habits he has. What wife hasn’t done that? I could make you list of my husband’s quirks. Also note, it wasn’t enough that he’d told her he loved her, she expected more from him. This is decidedly female, and even more so when she is clueless as to why he’d run off in the first place.

I challenge the idea that the characters must be devoid of thoughts and feelings and a couple cannot show they care for each other (within Christian guidelines) without it becoming taboo. This type of writing leads me back to the “vase of flowers” concept where children are conceived by some mythical moment and not because the husband wanted to be with his wife. In this same vein, I have read some fabulous stories full of emotion and real-life characters that barely had kissing in them, and yet I knew how the man felt about her and how she felt about him.

Stories are all about words, and an author’s choice and placement of those words are what gives the characters life on the page. And that life is what keeps me reading and makes me relive certain story scenes again and again after I close the book. It is also what keeps me writing – that knowledge that these people could have existed and would have behaved like that. And I like think it is that certain thing which keeps readers returning to my books.

(Unedited story excerpts are from Love & Redemption by Suzanne D. Williams to be released March 1, 2013.)

Suzanne-640Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors.

To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/ or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor.

I HATE COMMAS, COMMAS, AND MORE COMMAS!

By Lillian Duncan

I gladly admit that I hate commas. I much prefer to ignore them when I write. Those kind souls who critique my writing are always pointing out my comma failings (and I so appreciate them).

So, I’ve decided to do something about it. Since I needed to write a post about writing tips, I decided to improve my own writing in the process, or so I hope. Instead of writing about what I know I’m on a quest to find out what I don’t know about commas!

I asked some other writers to give me rules about commas as a first step. Here’s what they’re saying:

Linda Samaritoni gives us RULE # 1: Use a comma in direct address, meaning names.

EXAMPLE : I’m here to help you, friend.

Gail Kittleson, author of Catching Up With Daylight (to be published 2013), gives us RULE # 2: Use a comma after a subordinate clause used as an introduction to a
sentence.
EXAMPLE: After we watched our team lose, we headed to the malt shoppe.

Louise M. Gouge, author of A Suitable Wife, December 2012, tells us about RULE #3: Use a comma to separate independent clauses (complete thoughts) when they are joined by these transition words: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.

EXAMPLE: We wanted to go to the movie, but none of the films caught our interest.

Amy Cattapan, aspiring author and a middle school English teacher, gives us RULE #4: When including a full date in a sentence (month, day, and year), put a comma after the year as well as between the day and the year.
Example: The conference held on September 21, 2012, was a great success.

I give you RULE #5: Use commas to separate a series of at least 3 objects or events.

EXAMPLE: She woke up, brushed her teeth, ate breakfast, and then left for the day.

I’m checking out the Chicago Manual Of Style, which is what many fiction writers use as the ultimate grammar and punctuation resource. I’ve spent more than an hour reading questions about commas and CMOS answers on their website.

A few things have become clear to me.

Commas are troublesome to lots of people not just me.

There are lots of ambiguous situations concerning commas, but the CMOS people have a consistent answer. If the comma helps to clarify a situation use it. If the sentence doesn’t need clarifying then don’t use it.

In many situations, commas can or cannot be used, and either way would be right. That makes me feel better. I guess it comes down to personal preference and what your editor prefers.

The CMOS website points out that good editing smoothes the way for the reader. And I guess that’s why writers need editors. My job is to create the story, and the editor’s job is to smooth out the bumps.

But I’m hoping my editor has a few less commas to add in my next story!

YOUR ASSIGNMENT SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT:I purposefully left out some commas in the above post and possibly a few accidentally. Leave a comment if you find a sentence that needs a comma with an explanation why. You may refer to the above rules to make it easier.

Lillian Duncanwrites stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan

Interview with Sharon Srock

DSC_0022Today we have the visit of Christian Author, Sharon Srock. I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Sharon, thanks for being with us today at The Rising Muse. Tell us, How much of yourself do you write into your characters?

I don’t, intentionally, write any of me into my characters. That doesn’t mean you won’t find a little piece of me in all of the women. Callie teaches Sunday school and loves her guacamole, Terri is looking for God’s will in her life and arguing the whole way, Pam is learning lessons in forgiveness. Yep, there I am.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.

How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?

I guess I’m a product of our environment. I like being busy. Even on a vacation I have to consciously tell myself to slow down and enjoy the moment. Sanity…I’m a writer, that option took a hike a few years back.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m working with my editor to get Terri’s story complete. Pam’s story is close to being at the word count I want. Then I’ll start the serious editing process for her. Samantha is knocking…

If you could invite a fictional character to dinner who would it be and why?

Oh, can I pick two? Merlin and Spock. Merlin because I’m captivated by the whole knights in armor, Arthur, slaying the dragon thing. Spock because…well…because the idea of extraterrestrial life interests me. If we ever find life out there, I’d hope they would be wise and beneficial sort like Vulcans. Not the I’ve come to destroy your world we see portrayed 99% of the time.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

What is your favorite material item that you own (examples: iPod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)

My Kindle. It’s just the most amazing machine.

Do your characters ever give you surprises when you are writing? Can you give us an example if they do and if they don’t do you know why?

My characters constantly surprise me. Their individual determination to be front and center in my brain is relentless. I’m a SOTP writer. I don’t work with an outline, so I can’t give you an example of where I planned to go one way and they insisted on taking their own way, but I continue to be amazed.

Do you have a favorite scene in this book and what would it be?

I think where Pam, Karla, and Terri come to Callie’s house with groceries and stuff for the girls. That is exactly like it would happen, has happened, in my life. Our church family is so generous. I have been on the giving and the receiving end of help.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

A lack of time. I don’t think there is a way to overcome it until I retire. I just have to deal with not enough hours in the day.

Which character in your book are you most like? What have you learned about yourself in writing this story?

For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone?

You are looking at it. Learning the craft, editing, and revising were easy compared to putting myself in the path of perfect strangers and begging for their attention. I’m a pretty solitary person. If I had my way, I’d write the book and pay a look alike to go out and face the public.

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us. Please tell us where we can find you on the internet and where can we get your book?

Visit my BLOG at: http://www.womenofvalleyview.blogspot.com/
Connect with me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SharonSrock#!/SharonSrock
Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/SharonSrock
Find me on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10758698-sharon-srock

The Women of Valley View. Ordinary women using their faith to do extraordinary things

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save perf5.500x8.500.inddthem all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing.  And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

You can obtain Callie at:

And here’s the chance to win a huge basket of gifts. Keep reading

A copy of Callie’s story
A certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card
The rules are easy. For every reader that comments on this post, you get an entry into the drawing. A winner will be drawn Monday November 19th. The items add up to well over 100.00 in value.

The Silence of My Imaginary Friends

It’s been said that writer’s block is nothing but a time when our imaginary friends won’t talk to us. As writers we get frustrated because once we finally settle down, are able to shut down social media, and we are in the middle of a promising good scene; then poof, words just go away.

We tend to forget that our imaginary friends can get tired, hungry, and bored just like us. I  understand and have experienced that their timing tends to be very inopportune, but since we need them, just like with babies, you have to adjust to their schedule.

When I’m on a roll with my writing and my muse just stops, I have to check to find out what my imaginary friends need so that I can get them talking again. Sometimes when I lay down for a nap, the funniest thing happens.  They go from being absolutely mute to arguing amongst themselves about how the plot should go. At that point I tell them to shut up. If they weren’t willing to talk to me when I was in front of the computer, this is not the time to talk. So they finally calm down. Sometimes they seep into my dreams showing me whatever conclusion they came up with during their argument.

Other times we both need food. The “glamorous” life of a writer comes with long work hours and ironically we sometimes forget to eat. I had not discovered this particular need of my imaginary friends, until recently. I used to keep a plate with junk food right next to me  during my writing times.  However, now that I’m trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and making sure I eat what my body needs and not just what it wants. I don’t keep anything at my desk, other than water.  I’ve discovered that sometimes when my imaginary friends stop it’s to get me off of the computer and get me to eat.

The other thing that I’ve discovered that helps me sometimes, is to take a walk. My dog particularly appreciates when my imaginary friends coincide with the fact that she has been laying at my feet for hours without relief. Yes, your muse (our imaginary friends) gets bored too and sometimes a walk can help. I’ve read that for some people working out does the trick. I guess that depends on your physical condition. While I try not to pass out at my Zumba class, it’s very hard for me to think of anything other than not dying. However taking a walk through the neighborhood, looking at the trees, and watching other people interact can help entertain them and when we get back they feel more incline to start talking again.

So when your muse aka your polka dot people (don’t judge, not all little talking people are green or pink) try to see what they need and they may start cooperating again.

If you want to read a different type of novel that will keep you at the edge of The Road Home Cover (1)your seat. See the story that God placed in my heart to share, a story that will definitely touch your heart: The Road Home

A story: Hope p.2

Thanks for coming back. I hope you enjoy the end of this short story of hope…

Paula slowly threw her leg over the rail. She looked at the water, it seemed so peaceful. All of the sudden she felt a tug on her other leg. Something was stuck to her pants, it was dark and she was not sure of what it was, but she just continued to feel the tug in the cuff or her pants. She returned the leg back inside. She couldn’t believe her eyes, it was a dog.

Part of the reason why she couldn’t see it well it was because the dog was black. It was a dachshund. She couldn’t believe a dog that small could have cling to her legs strong enough to stop her from jumping. She sat in the ground looking at the dog. She quickly noticedwhen the dog sat in front of her,  that it was a female dog.

“Hey sweetie, why are you out here? It’s so cold” Paula starred patting her head.  She continued to talk to her new found friend. “Did you escape? Or where you thrown out to life like me? “Paula started to cry again. The dog walked to her and started liking her hands that were covering her face.

“I wish you could understand how sad I am. I wish I could tell you all I have gone through. I also wish you would have let me jump; all this pain would finally be over.  I’ve lost everything! I lost my parents, my job, my health, my boyfriend! I don’t have anything left to hold on to” Paula continued telling her story to the little dog as she jumped in her lap and settled herself between Paula’s legs. She started whining as she placed her little head over Paula’s knee. Paula pat her one more time.

Paula’s heart melted to the tenderness of this little animal. She felt so unloved, afraid and sad yet somehow as she sat on the ground, in the cold in the middle of nowhere, she felt at peace. Every time Paula pet the dog, she would wag her tail making Paula smile at the cuteness of this little dog.  Paula finally looked at the tag and it read, “Hope”. There was no phone number, address or an owner’s name in the tag.

“So your name is Hope” Paula said looking at the little dog still cuddled in her lap. She took a deep breath and said, “Ok Hope, I guess you’re right…all I have is you and hope, hope that just like you who appeared to save my life out of the nowhere, things will work out somehow.”  Paula got up from the ground hugging her new best friend, trying to warm her up with her own body with the hopes that after reaching the bottom things couldn’t go anywhere but up.

Sometimes just is the little things that matter the most. When you find yourself hopeless, look around…God is always handing out bits of Hope… Be blessed!

A Story: Hope p.1

This week I decided to share with you a short story I wrote sometime ago. Hope is something that we all need in live… See how Hope changed someone’s life.

HOPE 

Paula left her apartment convinced that she was not going to return. She wasn’t sure of what she was going to do or where she was headed, but she knew that her chest was tight and she felt like she couldn’t breathe anymore. So many things had happened in the last year that she felt like she was at the end of her rope.

She was walking down the street.  It was dark outside, but there were no clouds. All the stars were distinctively able to be seen in plain sight. It was somewhat windy, but the pain in her heart was so big that she didn’t feel the cold in her body, even though she was not wearing a coat. It was so late that there was not another soul outside. She started running and running, almost as if she were trying to escape from herself, but the pain in her heart was so heavy that the more she ran the more it hurt.

Like a movie flashing in front of her eyes, the last year of her life was playing in front of her. First was the tragic accident in which both of her parents died. She had just had dinner with them at a restaurant, but she decided to allow them to take a cab back home because she was meeting her boyfriend later. She blamed herself, if she had driven them home, maybe they would be alive.

There was also the problem with her health, she had been feeling these crazy pains in her body. She thought she was too young for all these aches. She finally decided to go to the doctor and was diagnosed with RA.  How could she have arthritis and she was just approaching thirty? She was in constant pain; and it  made it hard for her to get up in the mornings to go to work. It was hard to stay in bed for long periods of time; it was hard to stay seated for long periods of time. The medication helped some, and it seemed to make the pain less intense, however it didn’t make it go away.

Her job was less than tolerant and with all her absences due to her illness, she started having problems at work. Also, even though she was trying really hard, her productivity had declined because she was constantly not feeling well.  So that morning they had let her go.

Pain and sadness struck her as she walked into her apartment.  Her boyfriend was using her place as his bachelor pad. Paula felt a range of emotions, anger, betrayal, shock and heartbreak. This was a time where she needed him the most. On her drive home she had been hoping to find some comfort in his arms, instead she found treason and another woman.

After he left she sat on the sofa for hours in shock. She didn’t even cry. She couldn’t move. Her mind was racing, but she felt like the world around her had stopped. When the numbness started to fad, she decided that she couldn’t take it anymore and took off running out the door.

Paula ran until she came to a bridge. She stopped to catch her breath. She noticed there were very few cars driving by.  She was panting and as she stood there trying to catch her breath; she  finally started crying. She bent over the rail of the bridge wailing in pain.  She looked at the water and had an idea. Jumping over would be the solution to her problems. She finally would be able to end her pain.

Come back on Wednesday as we get to share the second part and the end of this story of Hope…until then. Be Blessed!

No Small Job

I observed a man this morning in a suit trying to push a wagon of boxes. He was truly struggling to balance the load and pushing the cart. The boxes were empty by the way. It reminded me that the things we do, do not define who we are.

People have the tendency to place certain professions, jobs, tasks or qualities in a pedestal. The body has many members, and all of them have different functions, but none of them are less than the other.  Look at your hand for a minute, if you lost one finger, any of them, you would miss it terribly and you would have to make major adjustments to go back to “normal function”. The same is with the way we are as a collective, everyone has a function to do and nobody is better or worse for the position they have been placed.

I used to work with a brilliant doctor. It was a delight to hear this man speak, full of knowledge and wisdom, but totally technologically challenged. He couldn’t operate his computer or his cell phone. If some of us in the office didn’t pull out his e-mails and voicemails, he would not be in the loop of the things that needed to be done. That didn’t make him less or didn’t make us more. We had different skills and functions to complete.

I also remember being a manager. I’m a pretty gadget and technically savvy person, but for some reason the fax machine at that office and I did not get along (anyone remembers the movie Office Space, yes that was my relationship with the fax machine). I tried to not bother others and do my own thing. When I would disappear for a while and my assistant knew that I was not in a meeting, she usually checked the copy room and there I was fighting the fax machine. She would take the papers from my hands and get the job done in fifteen seconds.

My dad used to say, someone needs to sell hot dogs on the corner of the street otherwise I wouldn’t have a place to buy it, and someone needs to pick up the garbage, otherwise it would pile up in our house.

So no matter what you’re doing today, don’t look at it with the eyes of the world that classifies tasks as better or worse. Look at your job as a gift from God to render a service that in the large scheme of things it’s just as important as the next one to keep things working the way they should.

Luke 13:30
indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

Blessings.

Beautiful and Handsome

As God’s children we should aspire for the best as we are the children of The King. With this I’m not talking about our expectations for others, but for our own selves. The media is filled with images that define beauty for us, and in my quest for meaning I decided to research the world view and God’s view on beauty.

When talking about the beauty in terms of human attraction these tend to be defined by gender. Women are beautiful; men are handsome. What does that really mean?

 Beautiful

I usually start with my friend Webster who says that beauty is the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).  It’s an individually pleasing or has beautiful quality; grace; charm.

Reading this also entails that beauty is very subjective. Something pleasing to my eyes is totally disgusting to the person next to me. Therefore beauty will depend on our personal experiences, our culture and our personal taste. Not much for an objective definition.

Of course I went to the Word of God and this is what I found:

  •  Proverbs 31:30(NIV)”Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” This one I found particularly interesting because Webster said that charm was part of beauty, but the word of God tells us that charm is fleeting.
  •  1 Peter 3:3-5 (NIV) “such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.”

So according to the Word, in reality being beautiful has nothing to do with how we look, but who we are. I think this definition can transcend cultures, tastes and personal experiences. I could even dare to say that it doesn’t divide even by gender as a man can have a gentle and quiet spirit as well.

Handsome

Now for the gentlemen, this was Webster’s definition of handsome: having an attractive, well-proportioned, and imposing appearance suggestive of health and strength; good-looking; having pleasing proportions, relationships, exhibiting skill, taste, and refinement.

Once again it focuses on the outer appearance and the subjectivity of what is perceived by it, but in this case it goes further talking about skills, which is something that I think I never thought was included in this definition.

I found in Daniel 1:4 the following message,young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace”  The bible doesn’t deter much from Webster in this definition, it talks about no physical defect, which I’m sure is not talking about lack of flaws, but about a healthy body; but adds something to it, which is knowledge and the ability to learn. So for a man to be attractive, the six packs may be as equally important as the knowledge he presents, if not more.

The irony for me was that doing this research I found pictures that do not conform to our Hollywood mentality of beauty, which reinforces the notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  Yes, I did find pictures of Brad Pitt in the midst of it and of  Julia Roberts, but I found pictures that defined beauty that are unusual for our traditional mindset. Here I share some:

Beautiful:

See full size imageSee full size image

Handsome:

    

So here’s the bottom line:

  •  Are you woman, being defined by the world’s definition of beauty or are you beautifying your spirit with the Word of God?  Also, are you looking at men within the God’s definition of beauty?
  •  Are you man, being defined by the world’s physical view of handsome? Or are you being teachable and in the search for the true knowledge? Also, are you looking at women within the definition of beauty that God has set for you?

Food for thought,

Blessings

Naty

Whose fault is it?

Look at the picture above. It is one of our favorite mental pictures. It is very easy for us to assign responsibility to others when things go wrong, but do we think what our part in the process was? If we look at the hand, there’s one finger pointing outward and three inward. If you’re doing the pointing there are three fingers pointing at you.

Some things are out of our control in life; I’m not negating that…but it’s not as many as we tend to think.

Have you heard yourself say things like: this person makes me feel (angry, upset, irritable) or made me (eat, scream, nag, throw something)…unless the person has a weapon and threatening your safety. Was is truly this person’s fault or did you allow yourself into the behavior or emotion?  We also blame the circumstances around our lives. Most time we created those circumstances as well.

Sometimes we forget to take accountability for our own actions because it’s easier to blame others or the circumstances. The denial of our responsibility falsely releases us from having to address it or work on fixing it. By placing the responsibility outside of us, we convince ourselves that the answer is out of our hands, not realizing that is inside that fist, hidden behind those three fingers that are pointing at us.

Stepping out of that denial is not an easy thing. It makes us see ourselves for who we really are. It also finally addresses the issue that we need to work on, that’s true freedom!

So I just invite you to stop and think; every time there’s a situation in your life and you are ready to blame someone else; ask yourself, what part did you play for things to happen?

Be blessed

Did you enjoy this post? This is one of the lessons included in my book Growth Lessons , get your copy today! Do you already have the ebook and want my autograph…submit your request on kindlegraph and i’ll be honored to process it.