Monday, February 22, 2010


I am a first year student. According to those who run around in the halls of the school of writing, I am a freshman with many years of study and crafting ahead of me.
Many times I have used the word fledgling to describe my position as writer.  Fledgling.
I love that word. I like its meaning as much as I like to say it. Fledgling. Fledgling (It's up there with some of my other favorite words like, delicious and scullery.)
So what is a fledgling anyway? Well, it's a young, new or inexperienced person, according to one dictionary. It is also a young bird, newly fledged, having the plumage or feathers necessary for flight, or having the characteristics of maturity.

For a chick, the possibility of flight is evident in its wings and feathers. The dream of flying is further away, more likely to be realized when a mother bird does some serious flight training. Or just noses her fledgling out of the nest. Between flight and now, there are lessons to be learned. And so it is with me.

But there is another meaning for fledge. It can also mean to provide an arrow with feathers to assist with flight accuracy and balance. Lost in the mists of time, there must be a legend about the placement of a turkey feather on the end of a whittled arrow, which turned the bowman into a skilled archer.

Yes, these feathers have their purpose. And I'm collecting. With each new writing lesson, attempt and discovery, I grow just a little bit more. And I'm doing it in good company. Over the last few months God has gifted me with a beautiful writing buddy who encourages me and shares what she is learning. Even though she lives in another hemisphere, there is a little slice of each day where we chat and explore the writing life together. Every writer needs a kindred spirit like that!!  I have also become a member of a critique group, where I can share my work with others and learn from them.

God has not left us to discover life's lessons on our own. He uses His people to teach us about the road ahead and equip us for each task.

Proverbs 24:3
I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Motives of the Heart
Have you ever wondered why God allows you to be drawn into circumstances which are not of your choosing, often painful and maybe even dangerous? Are you trapped and wondering what purpose God could possibly have for you in the midst of distress?
These are the same questions asked by Grace Wescott in MaryLu Tyndall's 
The Raven Saint.
One minute Grace is ministering to the destitute, sick and orphaned in her home in South Carolina in 1718. The next moment she finds herself kidnapped by the mercenary French sea captain Rafe Dubois and headed into the stormy waters of slavery in the Caribbean. Why would God take her away from her ministry to have her thrown into the hull of a pirate ship? While Grace battles to hold onto her faith, believing she has been sent to draw someone to God, Rafe Dubois fights his own battle, tormented by his past and the betrayals which have hardened his heart.
Will Grace be able to minister to the crew around her, or will she discover God has brought her to a place where the lessons are for her own heart? 

The Raven Saint is the third in M L Tyndall's Charles Towne Belles Series, but can be read as a stand alone book. It's a fast paced adventure on the high seas, with plenty of life lessons and the necessary romantic dips which rock the boat and stir the waves as our hero and heroine navigate their way to true love.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Matters of the Heart

February has colored us red. Blogs and emails hint at what many celebrate with great delight. Valentine's Day is hard to ignore as it beckons from shopfronts and TV commercials.

In our household, a different 'matter of the heart' is remembered. On this day last year, our daughter Sophie was wheeled into theatre for a small procedure to correct an arrhythmia of her heart. The doctor promised us it was a straight forward process and one he was confident would restore her heart and blood to its normal beat and flow. After many prayers and assurances of love, I watched as the smiling nurse closed the door to the operating room, taking with her my firstborn child. Yes, she was 16 then, but I saw a toddler, a 6 year old and a 12 year old all rolled into one. And they were going to fiddle with her heart.

At church the day before,  Barry, one of our faithful saints had encouraged Sophie to read Psalm 27 as she prepared for her hospital visit. This was a chapter he often shared with cardiac patients as he ministered to them during times of sickness and ill health. Armed with such well used scripture, I found a quiet spot in the visitor's lounge and under the shadow of God's wings of protection, I began my 'mother's wait'. 

Psalm 27:14 says:
Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and
He shall strengthen your heart:
Wait I say on the Lord.

I read and re-read that chapter all morning, as I prayed and sat poised to hear news of Sophie's surgery, confident that all would go well. This was a routine procedure. The doctor had done it countless times before on patients of all ages. Maybe he was slow in getting started that morning, or an earlier surgery had gone overtime. I looked at the clock on the wall and compared it with my watch, cross checking with the time on my phone to be double sure. Yes, more time had gone by than what had been promised. They should have been finished an hour ago yet the theatre doors I surveyed from my seat in the lounge, remained shut like sleeping eyelids.
Back to God's word and more praying. Should I go for a wander and ask someone? Text messages were coming through asking for news. I had nothing to report. Just keep praying I told them, and myself.

And then she appeared, in a flurry of activity as nurses wheeled her into Recovery, eyelids too heavy to lift.
I had to step back as the ensemble of patient and nurses was swallowed behind another door.
No Admittance poked its tongue at me once again. 
But a deep voice drew my attention as the doctor arrived and wasted no time in telling me where things stood.
I wasn't ready to hear it. The word complication was not on our 'to-do' list that day. Nevertheless it snuck in, demanding to be dealt with.

"We had a little complication to start with. The route to her heart we thought would be the best, turned out to be quite difficult for us to navigate. Our probe came too close to the wall of her heart and we were afraid if we continued along that pathway, we would pierce right through. So we had to take all our instruments out, call another specialist to do an ultrasound and determine a new pathway to get to the area we needed to treat. In the end we used a major artery and unfortunately this delayed our progress a little. She's in Recovery now and you can see her when we've stemmed the bleeding. It may take some time, but she is going to be ok," He patted my shoulder. "She will have a longer recovery than we anticipated though."

So it was all good. Somewhere in all that he was telling me it was all going to be ok. My legs which had held me up so well, decided it was a good time to turn to jelly, and I wobbled my way back to the lounge. 
Thank God she would be ok and sometime in the next 24 hours we would discover that her heart would now march to the beat it was meant to. I could finally call people and tell them it had ended well. A detour had taken the medical team in a different direction but we had eventually reached our destination. We had waited on the Lord and he had indeed, strengthened out hearts in more ways than one.

Twelve months later, I can look at the heart shaped chocolates in the supermarket and thank God for healing Sophie and holding us all through her week of surgery and recovery. There is a lot of love to contemplate when I think about February. 

So how do you know that your teenager has woken up well from heart surgery? Her first question is the best clue. 
She - "Did the doctor say I can go to Wednesday's drama rehearsal?" 
Me - "He said you need to rest for the whole week. No drama, no school, just rest"
She - "Oh no....." 
Me - "You'll survive. And your heart's going to be fine too!"

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


I am thrilled to announce the winner of the Ink Dots book giveaway. 

Raymonde, today is your 'lucky day'!  You will be receiving your very own copy of Amanda Deed's The Game, and I know you will not be disappointed!

Thanks to Amanda for generously offering a copy of her book for our winner, and to my beautiful daughter Sophie for randomly choosing the winning entry. 

It's been a pleasure introducing you to Amanda and I hope you will keep an eye out for more of her fabulous work in the future. I can't wait to see what she has to offer her readers next.

I have never won any prizes myself. It's not really a sad thing, don't feel bad for me. I hardly ever enter competitions. I did send a short story to a women's magazine when I was 15, and my 'prize' was $50. That was a very exciting experience, and I have had some favorable results in other writing competitions. But I am yet to win a Christmas hamper or sports car.

Have you ever won anything? I would love to know if you have been 'lucky'.

I say lucky but I really don't believe in luck so much. I know God is in control and brings about His desires in our lives when we commit ourselves to Him. I know for myself I would rather have the plans of God fulfilled in me than some random chain of events fall upon me. I am secure in the knowledge that nothing can thwart His plans for His people when they submit to Him.

I am encouraged by the words of Psalm 37:4.
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Not that God promises me everything on my wish list. But rather, He places desires in my heart according to His will for me as I delight myself in Him. 

And I know Raymonde delights herself in God. Today He has blessed her with a precious gift, using one of His other children, Amanda, to make it happen.  

Maybe you have received a special gift from God like this too. I would love to hear about it!