26.2 – The A-Z View

Last year, in my 2011 ‘Reflections’ post, 26.2 A Different View, I likened the A-Z Challenge to running a marathon. Continuing with that metaphor, I admit I had my doubts about my ability to finish the Challenge this year. I had really hoped to write my posts before the Challenge even started. When April 1st arrived, and I only had outlines, rough drafts, and notes for just some of the characters who would be ‘blogging’ @ Bible Bloggers, I thought I was doomed. I was sure I’d hit the wall and collapse before making it to the end.

I’m happy to admit I was wrong. Unlike last year, I trained for this year’s challenge. I read, researched and contemplated possible entries. I may not have written the full posts, but I was prepared to write them when the starting whistle blew. When training for a marathon, I don’t run the full 26.2 before race day; instead, I prepare by gradually building my mileage. Around letter ‘R’ I realized that was what I did for this year’s A-Z. And the training paid off. Every ‘blog’ was posted at exactly 8am every day of the Challenge. There were even some letters I wrote two entries for! And as the miles, um, letters passed, I managed to pick up my pace and get a few days ahead every once in a while.

Of course, like with running, I ran this race mostly on my own. Busy concentrating on my own pace, I only briefly looked around at those running beside and in front of me. Of the new blogs I did get a chance to visit during the Challenge, there are three stand-outs I want to encourage you to visit too:

Inspiration Art and Creativity ~ Amanda’s theme for the challenge was dementia. I found myself relating to her thoughts and feelings and connected with her pain. Despite the painful topic she explored during the Challenge, her blog is full of hope, encouragement and inspiration for the creative soul.

Overcoming Loneliness ~ Jody is an amazingly powerful writer! Her passionate words reached right into my heart and stirred the passion of my own faith.

Here to Find Him ~ Megan is writing her first Christian fiction novel and shares all the ups and downs of the process. As a Christian and a writer, I felt an instant connection with her.

Finally, to this year’s A-Z Team, I’d like to say, ‘Thank you!’

Tossing It Out (Arlee Bird)
Amlokiblogs (Damyanti Biswas)
Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh)
Life is Good (Tina Downey)
Retro-Zombie (Jeremy Hawkins)
The Warrior Muse (Shannon Lawrence)
The QQQE (Matthew MacNish)
Author Elizabeth Mueller(Elizabeth Mueller)
Pearson Report (Jenny Pearson)
No Thought 2 Small (Konstanz Silverbow)
Breakthrough Blogs (Stephen Tremp)
Coming Down The Mountain(Karen Jones Gowen)

Proverbial Meditation (An A-Z Challenge Extra)

Throughout the month of April for the A-Z Challenge, 1st Writes, my writer’s group blog, has been meditating on Proverbs. Each day a member of our group writes about a Proverb containing a word corresponding to the letter of the alphabet for the day. Even members who don’t blog have written interpretations of the Proverbs. The entries in the series are short, inspiring and refreshing to the spirit – with the possible exception of today’s entry!

Today is the letter ‘V’ in the Challenge and the word of the day at 1st Writes is ‘Vomit’ – found in Proverbs 25:16 (If you find honey, eat just enough— too much of it, and you will vomit). Surprisingly, nobody in our group volunteered for this word! So I gladly reluctantly signed up. Even more surprising, I actually came up with two (maybe one and a half) different meditations on a word so repulsive, just hearing it triggers my gag reflex.

The first meditation posted on 1st Writes ponders gluttony in blogging. Is it possible to be a ‘blog glutton’?

My second contribution is shorter and quite possibly more of an observation rather than a reflection.

 

At times in our writing, using a word with negative connotations is the best way of attracting an audience and getting our point across.

To me, the best use of the word ‘vomit’ in a title is  – Comment Vomit: How Not To Leave Comments by Melissa who manages two blogs – Adventuroo and Momcomm.

It’s one of her most popular posts ever, in part, I’m sure, due to it’s title, which doesn’t repulse, but shocks and intrigues. The post was so popular it spawned a badge that reads – This is a comment vomit free zone. The graphic on the badge is a cute little cloud opening its mouth and spewing forth a cute, colorful rainbow. The pleasant graphic helps soften the harshness of the word while maintaining its power. It’s so wrong and right at the same time.

While musing about the word ‘vomit’ for only a few seconds, after thinking – ‘pregnancy’ and ‘gross’, I remembered this post, which proves it’s a memorable title!

Young Isaac’s Blog (A Bible Blogger Extra)

Today an older Isaac shared his blog on Bible Bloggers. I thought it only fair that young Isaac get to share his blog too!

Scripture Reading Genesis 22: 1-19

Blog Title – Child of Promise

Blogging Niche – Christian and Boy Bloggers

About Me – I’m the son of Abraham and Sarah, some even say I’m the favorite son! I like to play outside, help with the animals and hang out with my dad.

Blog Excerpt

 

A Funny Thing Happened On Mount Moriah

So Dad and I went to the Land of Moriah to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Dad and I have offered many sacrifices together before, but this trip was different. Something seemed off. First of all, Dad was quiet. I’d tried to talk to him, but his answers were short, as if his mind was full of other thoughts – thoughts he didn’t want to share with me.

Second of all, we didn’t bring a sacrifice.

“The fire and wood are here,” I said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

“God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son,” he said.

Cool. I trust in God’s provision. As Dad built the alter, he seemed sad. He put the wood on the alter, and when the time came to offer a sacrifice, I got a really funny feeling in the pit of my belly.

Dad reached for me and began to tie me up. It hit me then that I was the sacrifice! At first panic seized me and terror filled my heart, but almost immediately those feelings were replaced by a peace unlike anything I’ve ever felt before.

Dad was repeating over and over, “God is good. He keeps his promises.”

I believed his words and they surrounded me with calm. As I lay bound on a pile of wood, I felt no fear – only trust in God.

Suddenly an angel shouted from the heavens, “Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

Dad lowered the knife he had held over me. He caught sight of a ram and we sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead. Then together we worshiped.

The whole experience was weird, almost like a dream, but too real. I can still feel the wood scraping against my back.

On the way back, Dad was in good spirits again. The whole way home we praised God together! Dad’s unquestioning faith is so awesome! I hope I can always be as faithful to God as he is!

Good Gracious, Goliath! (Another Quasi A-Z Post)

I feel like dancing! Well…not quite dancing. I’m a bad dancer. The first week of the A-Z Challenge is over and I’m still in it. I’m feeling stronger in my writing and creativity. I just might finish this thing after all and it’s all thanks to God’s inspiration.

Just to clarify…well more like to promote, I’m participating in the Challenge at Bible Bloggers, my blog of blogs written by Bible characters, and at 1st Writes, my writer’s group’s blog. Over at 1st Writes, members, even non-blogging members, are sharing meditations on Proverbs. So far I’ve blogged about the letters ‘E’ and ‘G’ – E Is For Ear; G Is For Gracious.

While over at Bible Bloggers, Abigail, Bathsheba, Cornelius, Eve, Faith and Goliath have been busy blogging. By the way, if you like Bible Bloggers, consider ‘liking’ their Facebook page!

Finally, I wish you all a Blessed Easter Sunday!

Photo Credit - VStock

 

A-Z Insecurity Part 2

With the A-Z Challenge underway, my insecurities still abound. I’m second guessing myself a lot.

After last year’s Challenge, I think of the A-Z as a blogging marathon. Right now, I’m only at mile 4 with 22 miles to go and I’m wondering if I have the energy to finish. But that’s why I love Bible Bloggers! All my insecurities and doubts fade in the face of God’s Word. Every character reminds me that if I rely on God, I can do anything! I’m confident enough to publish my Bible Blogger posts because I’m writing them for God’s glory and not my own – just as Deborah recommends on today’s Bible Bloggers’ blog!

A SiP [Scripture in Picture] of Spring – A Quasi A-Z Post

I’ve had a post about dandelions sitting in my ‘draft’ folder for a year. Today, which is the letter ‘D’ for the A-Z challenge, seemed like a good day to finally publish it.

I used to cringe whenever I saw a dandelion in my yard. Dandelions were the pimples on the face of my lawn. I weeded and fertilized but they kept popping back up.

And then my daughter took her first steps on the grass and immediately ran to study and touch the beautiful yellow ‘flowers’. The bigger she gets, the more she enjoys the ‘pretty flowers’. She picks bouquet after bouquet that sit brightly in my kitchen windowsill reminding me that God doesn’t make mistakes. I see dandelions in the light of childhood wonder and find myself appreciating everything God has created – even the ‘ugly’ parts.

Every dandelion raises it’s head to heaven, acknowledging God, the Creator of everything we see and don’t see.