We all have it--that moment in our lives where, for a few brief moments, we get the spotlight. I have been blessed to be part of an anthology that has contributed to that moment. The anthology is 'A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider' and is published by That's Life! Communications. Our moment? Third place for Best Book of the Year and first place for Best Book of the Month in 2013. My story, A Glimpse of Heaven, is the closing story in the book and shares the beautiful, final moments with my Mother and God's graciousness to me after her passing. For a copy of 'A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider' email me at Donna's Email and I would love to send you a signed copy.
|Posted by donnadawson on February 24, 2014 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
February 24 - Advice I'd give a Newbie Writer
Don't write a thing until you have taken courses! New writers often bulldoze ahead, slapping words and phrases down on paper, calling them stories, like a child slaps fistfuls of mud onto a slab of cardboard and calls it meat pie. Is the pie edible? Possibly. Is it palatable? If you are an earthworm.
New writers are so in love with the idea of writing they often toss aside the foundations of writing just to get their ideas on page. Is it wrong? No but it certainly can be a waste of time.
Learn first! The child who scribbles numbers across a page assuming it is a complex algebraic solution is no less overzealous then the writer who spews streams of words without first learning what holds them together in spell-binding story craft.
When the writer learns the importance of phrase sequence, plot, sub-plot, characterization, setting, grammar, ebb and flow of theme—when that is absorbed through the osmosis of education—then the writer can truly offer their gift.
|Posted by donnadawson on February 11, 2014 at 12:20 AM||comments (4)|
Find the rest of the blog tour here.
February 10 - Character Sketch of My Hero
It's difficult to describe my hero because I've never actually seen him but I can give you his attributes. He is stern when needed and gentle the rest of the time. He loves without question even when I hurt him. He doesn't see me as a servant or a female or a Canadian or white. He sees me as a reflection of himself—a tainted reflection. He ignores the taint and loves me as though I am perfect. He forgives me each time I fail him which is sometimes moment by moment. He offers me advice when I need it and gives me comfort when no one else can. He holds my hand in the darkness and guides me into bright sunshine.
I don't know his hair colour or the shade of his irises. I can't tell you how tall he is; whether he strides through a room or saunters. I can't tell you much about his actual being other than his name but I have no doubt that Jesus loves me. He is my hero.
|Posted by donnadawson on January 26, 2014 at 10:20 PM||comments (7)|
My greatest writing tool is my computer. I have the world sitting in a box waiting for me to access it if I need. It allows me to accumulate information—research—so my stories can be accurate. It allows me to fly through thoughts, transferring them to files before they skitter away from me.
Then there is my solitude. People assume that a person who spends much time alone is not healthy. It's pretty hard to write a book when the social calendar is full. I need places where I can go to ponder, to allow my imagination free rein, to sift through plots and subplots.
My final, most important, writing tool is a note pad complete with pen. I'm sure if the average person found my scribblings they would wonder if I had ever learned the English language in the first place. The note pad can contain full sentences but rarely does. Usually it is a word or three—just enough to trigger my memory. The reader of that note page might see a list: nose, flared, bent, bridge like hawk's beak. Just enough stuff there to give me a picture—refresh my initial line of thought.
|Posted by donnadawson on January 15, 2014 at 7:55 AM||comments (2)|
I saw him as a red blur from the corner of my eye. I was supposed to be focusing on the music swelling around me--songs of praise, triumph and love. The cardinal's crimson flash shattered my determination in the single flick of a pinion and I turned my head to marvel. His ruddy plumage contrasted the alabaster crystals dusting the dead and crumbling blooms of the butterfly bush outside the window. A growing wind gripped their spindled arms and waved them in mimicry of the puppeteer's command. The cardinal flitted again hopping from one branch to another. Ebony eyes peered through the glass studying the strange sight of this large room filled with voices lifted in song. As though keen to join in the chorus--to perhaps show us all what true song is--he leapt. The small body thudded against invisible glass sending a ripple of shock and vibration through rumpled feathers. He found his perch again. Cocking his head from side to side he studied the unseen barrier and leapt again. The results were the same.
I watched as the cardinal jumped over and over again and my mind screamed at him to wait! To let me open the window so he could join in the praise! I didn't move. No one would thank me for letting the bird find its freedom in the chaos of noise and bodies. The bird didn't understand that the song would cease upon his entrance, replaced by the scurrying and reaching of hands to shoo this visitor back into the cold.
I thought about how alike we were--are. I come to the edge of what I think I need--what I want. An invisible hand restrains me. I see and hear what I think is beauty--what I should have--and I leap at it--fighting the hand that keeps me from the chaos and the grasping fingers. I don't understand. I get angry. I persist in my stubbornness and I slam against his will again and again--and again. I lose sight of the bruises I cause. I push through the pain of displaced plumage. I persist in spite of a growing awareness that I will never succeed in going to a place He will not allow me to find.
It takes the wisdom of a fellow worshipper to bring resolution. He draws the blind--blocks out the view--opens the bird's eyes to barrier and the stubborn, beautiful cardinal becomes aware of what has kept him from his goal. He takes flight and leaves us--turning his back on that which is harmful to him.
I am grateful for a God who sets the barriers in place and when I persist in my stubbornness, he draws the blinds.
|Posted by donnadawson on January 7, 2014 at 3:20 PM||comments (13)|
Writing has always been easy for me. It should be. Any gift God gives should feel easy to do. Does that mean I shouldn't work at it? Just the opposite. When God gives a gift it is with the intention of using it for his glory.
I like to use the example of the Queen of England. Perhaps she has read one of your stories and has decided she likes your writing. Her personal assistant contacts you and gives you guidelines for a topic about which the Queen would like you to write. Do you slap something together? Probably not. Most likely you would sweat for hours over each word; each punctuation mark; each subtle innuendo.
For 2014 I have decided to set the goal for myself to write best. It's easy to try to write better. I want to write best and not just for those who read what I write. I want to write best for the One who gave me the gift to write. I want every letter to glorify Him who created each one.
|Posted by donnadawson on January 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM||comments (1)|
YHVH. Three letters combined out of the Hebrew alphabet which, when put in order, reveal the most powerful name ever. Some call him Jehovah. It is a mispronunciation. Each letter has significance. All are what are know as 'consonental vowels'. There are only three in the Hebrew alphabet. Three letters which can be both consonent and vowel. Three letters totally complete. But it goes deeper.
The first letter is a 'yod'. It is either a silent vowel or a 'y' sound as in 'young' consonent. Yod is the building block for the other letters. It can be found tucked somewhere in the construction of its siblings. In Hebrew study, the Yod represents the omnipresence of God. How fitting that it should be the first letter in keys words such as YHVH, Yeshuah, Yerushalayem--all words deeply connected with God.
Then we have the next letter 'hey'. As a vowel it can be silent. As a consonent it can give the 'h' sound. As a significant letter, it describes the divine breath but also can indicate gender when used in a name. When Abram became Abraham it was with the letter 'hey'.
Then we have 'vav'. A breath spoken as a vowel, it becomes a 'v' sound as a consonent. Vav has a meaning of connectiveness. The letter itself is used to refer to the hooks used to hang the tabernacle curtains. How significant that it should be placed between the two 'hey's in The Name.
The final 'hey' is the female 'hey'. This letter, used at the end of the name, gives a feminine touch. So Sarai became Sarah. When put all together in that one powerful Name, we can begin to see a picture of the 'image of God'.
The Great Builder--the 'Yod' of all things shows God's power and presence and eternal supremacy. The two 'hey's linked by the 'vav' show us that both man and women are made in the image of God and linked together in an inseparable glorification of Him.
YHVH. The Name. Unchanging. Unchangeable. And we are made in that image.
|Posted by donnadawson on January 3, 2014 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
The thermometer plunges to a crispy minus 20 and I huddle into my winter gear. Even the dog has more common sense and watches from the kitchen window, offering a panting laugh. But the fires must be fed. So I gather the wood. I think about fire and its properties as I clip small twigs from felled branches. They will be kindling--the first sup that gives life to the flame. I ponder. How can something which consumes so violently and completely be of such value--a necessity of life.
Snip. Snip. I clip more twigs. Christmas has just passed and my mind reaches for the parallel. How could such a tiny baby become the flaming torch to light humanity. I stand there, a fist full of future fire. Did Mary look upon her infant and think about the future fire?
The bin fills and again my mind journeys. We are like those twigs--we who walk in the footsteps of the child of Bethlehem. If we are willing to be consumed by the flame, we become the catalyst for a mighty raging fire.
There are those who say they love the fire but do nothing to keep it kindled. They talk about the fire and live as though the fire is the source of light but they don't lift a finger to aid in its growth. There are those who have rejected the fire believing it doesn't exist and are surprised when it sweeps over them. There are those who know the fire--know its warmth and comfort--know its power and supremacy. They will feed the fire and share it with others.
That baby--that God-child--Yeshua--Jesus--was a single light on a dark night--a brief flicker of spark against a small group of souls hungry for hope's kindling. He grew because he was fed from the Source--because he was the Source--and spread across the nations, lighting the darkness of all souls willing to draw near.
Will you kindle and keep the fire burning? Will I? It's a choice.
|Posted by donnadawson on December 12, 2013 at 7:55 AM||comments (1)|
It defies the teachings of the day. It spits in the face of words that claim scientific validity but are nothing more than emotional rantings against One misunderstood. It's there nonetheless.
I stand and stare through gentle eyes into the dimness to the bright heat lamp. It dangles a mere six inches from a bed of wood shavings. A water tankard sits on a maple wood block, its spout facing the light's warmth--allowing it to hold winter's blast at bay. Crumbled grain sits in a mound on the opposite side of the life giving circle of illumination. And that is all. The four occupants who should be clustered beneath those rays are huddled in the far corner--in the dim and cool light. A six week old chicken hen and three newly hatched ducklings. The hen knows the light offers heat. She knows it is the place to be on such a bitter winter morning but the ducklings are too new to remember their inner compass. They have lost their way--struggled away from the bright into the dark where cold bites and saps life.
An evolutionist cries "Survival of the fittest!" spurning the beauty of a sacrificial heart, denying its reflection of a Creator who sacrificially loves yet that small hen, not yet covered in its full array of adult feathers, has contradicted the 'logical ways'. She has left the security of the light, followed the errant ducklings, ruffled her newly sprouted pinions and hovered. She has offered self for the sake of the little ones. There is no logic behind it. They are not her chicks. They don't continue her species. They are competition for the food and water and warmth. Still, she fluffs up down and gathers them under her, clucking and cooing to them, coaxing them step-by-step back to safety.
Once she has corralled them into the light's embrace, she pecks at the food, chuckling at them to emulate her. She teaches them the laws of nutrition--of survival. She pours her sprouting instinct into another species just for--what? Just because?
I stand, unmoving, tracking with wondering eyes. The ducklings acknowledge her as mother. They chirp in response as though language barriers are nothing to them. They huddle in and around clawed feet, their webbed feet shuffling. They sift through the feed by her beak; sip from the water she dips into for a drink. It is a silent slap in the face to those who, with their lips, deny God's existence and with their hearts, rail at him just the same.
I shake my head and leave the shadows behind. I understand the denial. I was one once too--an atheist. I know the truth. I know the heart and mind. There is no scientific proof of a lack of a Creator. Creatures show the contradiction. Creation shows the hand of a Creator but those who tout the science aren't convinced of their own argument. They just don't like the One who Created. They don't understand him--can't control him--so they deny him. I long to drag them into the wood sided hovel that is my barn and point an insistent finger and demand they explain the occurrence of a hen chick adopting three ducklings at the peril of her own survival. But they won't. They can't. So I shake my head again and hope they will some day see what I see moment by moment--the miracles of God's love.
|Posted by donnadawson on November 28, 2013 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
It's white and cold and hideous and yet I am called to rejoice. Rejoice in what? The crystalline stuff sucks at boots heavy to begin with. I shiver and trudge; shiver and trudge. The barn door won't give with the pull of the fist. Frozen. Soldered together with more of the white crystals. I shove hard, grumble some more and clomp into the darkness. Warm red glows from under stall doors where heat lamps hold the cold at bay. Water buckets have not yet surrendered to liquid concrete. I can see my breath even here--great puffs of silky white trailing each exhalation. Bah humbug! is my annual cry. I want to hate winter with its chilling grip and its deep blanched mire and its slate skies.
I look into each stall. Balls of fluffed up feathers huddle in fresh straw, stealing warmth where they can. The occasional crow of the rooster tells me that life is unchanged for these creatures. The seasons mean little to their day-to-day life other than to count down the clock to brooding season. Hens still churn out their oval produce. Roosters still march the stall perimeter seeking intruders. Turkeys gobble out their hysterical babble. The ducks quack and sift through the kiddie pool's liquid contents. A water tank heater has made their life pleasant. All are content. The horses munch hay, lazy eyes peering out from beneath a mantle of fuzz--giant teddy bears where sleek steeds stood in warmer climes. I am the only malcontent.
Their calm over-rides my foul frame of mind. I blow out another breath and see the fairy-like mist. There's warmth in this dim haven--body heat from creatures content so long as they have food, water and place away from the arctic blast. I am humbled.
I leave the barn and look to the skies. Fat flakes of snow gyrate through still air, their millions creating a blanket of grey/white to cover the azure. All is silent. Peacefully so. As though a hush has fallen and creation is waiting for the next move by the Creator. I let my eyes pan the scenery, awakened now by the gentle rebuke of the creatures under my care. The ground is thick with wool so white it is blue. Fragile looking twigs hold layers of the stuff giving the trees an air of supplication--as though robed in a white gown and humbly offering themselves to the One who made them. I am shamed. I complain while creation glorifies. The snow is cold--yes--but it is beautiful in its pristine starkness.
My feet no longer trudge. I slip them into the indents made by my grouchier self and follow them back to the warmth of the house. I am fed and watered and sheltered too and I am surrounded by a canvas of purity. What do I have to complain about?
|Posted by donnadawson on November 23, 2013 at 9:55 PM||comments (1)|
I have taken the plunge into my fears and discovered they are benign. Stepping out the other side I see the Light of lights. Joy bursts into my soul and I gain courage to step deeper into adventure.
The airplane pulls me from earth on silver wings. Muscles clench and relax; clench and relax. The idiocy of the idiot box on the back of the seat I face chews away at the hours--seven of them. It is a waste of time but time is all I've got. Plenty of it.
Night drops over the metal bird and those it carries. I nestle against the crook of the shoulder beside me--the shoulder that is beside me through life. Sleep doesn't come. The presence of joy doesn't always insure the presence of peace and my eyes remain glued to the screen of dancing puppets.
It is noon when the rubber talons touch tarmac. The peace is there finally. I have allowed it to squeeze next to the joy. Sunshine blares warming skin that longs for heat. The land of God's chosen. A dream come true. A dream stronger than fear that kills dreams.
Ten days of activity. Dashing and driving and drinking in the living history. Faith renewed over and over and over again. Depravity displayed as we rehash the holocaust and we cry. Yet joy stays because I am in the place I have longed to visit--the place of God's union with man.
We touch stones coated thick with the touches of men of renown. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon. We drift through the mighty ruins of mighty civilizations bereft of their might. We bob like corks in a sea so thick with salt we dare not blink.
The joy sits there beside me; bubbles within; overflows through tear ducts weary from weeping.
I leave the place of living faith but I carry it in my core. My beliefs have been confirmed--stamped with an assurance as incorruptible as mathematics. It is no longer faith that resides in my cells. It is faith and truth. What was once an ideal is now what defines me.