Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Somewhere over the Rainbow - Part One

Many thanks to those who prayed and thought of me during my recent travels to the US for the ACFW annual conference. I sensed your prayers each day as God heard and answered them... and boy, did I have myself an adventure! 

You will be pleased to know I made it there and back safely, with or without the help of Sir Richard Branson who journeyed on the same flights with me from Sydney to LA and then onward to Indianapolis.

It's not everyday the world's 212th richest billionaire and boss of an airline announces he is onboard for the 15 hour flight. Fellow V-Australia travelers were thrilled he took the time to wander the aisles and greet his passengers. I wondered how much safer the trip would be for the rest of us, with the owner sleeping in the pointy end of the plane. Would the flight crew treat us with greater care knowing the boss might be watching? Would the pilots double and triple check all their gadgetry before take off and landing? 

While the thrill of meeting famous celebrities (yes, there were TWO famous Aussies on board as well as Sir Richard) lasted a brief moment, it was the assurance my friends and family held me up in prayer that counted when the lights were dimmed. As we cut a path through the night sky over the Pacific ocean and people drifted into a restless sleep, I held onto the promise tucked firmly in my heart.

Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither 
sleep nor slumber,
The Lord watches over you - 
The Lord is your shade at your right hand - Psalm 121:4-5

Armed with the knowledge the great creator of Everyman, rich or poor, was listening to your prayers, I closed my eyes to dream of what the new day held in a land far away...  far beyond the rainbow.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Time To Fly

Some days we dream about far away places and the secrets they hold. Other days, when God unlocks a door, we slip away for a while and venture into the world beyond our doorstep. On very special days, we even get to fly away.

This time next week, I'll be somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. My bags will be packed and with dreams in a vice-like clutch, I'll make my way to Indianapolis and the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference.

What do you pack for a dream trip like this? Here is my list of essentials.

1. A teachable heart. My strongest desire is to learn more about the writing craft. I plan on bringing back a collection of nuts and bolts for masterful storytelling, and exploring the elements which make a story sing.

2. An open mind. There are days I think I know what I can and cannot achieve as a writer. I'm hoping to be surprised with possibilities I never imagined. After all, why hope for the things I know I will find? Why not look for a rare jewel?

3. A strong voice. When your accent rings a little off key, it pays to have an ounce of courage. I have questions to ask and people to find who I hope, will share their answers with me. I may even swap words of encouragement with a kindred spirit or two.

4. A friendly smile. When things are scary, there's nothing more disarming than a smile. It unlocks  doors and chases away fears which don't belong, but may creep in.

5. Tear soaked prayers. Why tears? Because that's me. Tears come easily, and often. From those shed at farewells to twinkling tears of delight, they're as much a part of who I am as my brown eyes. It would be wrong to deny the real me and pretend to be someone I'm not. So the tears get to come, but I'll be tucking them in with my prayers. Without prayer, I wouldn't dream of taking my smile, voice, mind or heart all the way to the ACFW conference.

After all, my lifelong prayers and God's remarkable answer, have opened the door for me to fly away in the first place.

  I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; 
       I will counsel you and watch over you. 
Psalm 32:8

Friday, September 03, 2010

 Today and Yesterday

On a church camp earlier this year a dear friend sat beside me and asked how my writing was going. I was surprised she even knew I was working on a novel. Tucked under her arm she had a book on photography, and tucked in her heart a dream to pursue the art beyond mere dabbling. We got to talking about our respective desires and have cheered each other on ever since.

When I needed a photographer to take a few head shots for my newly printed business card, I knew You Meng Hooi and I would have a fun day together. But where do you go in the dead of winter in Melbourne, when your client requests an historic location? You Meng knew just the place.

Built in 1863 on 14 acres, Abbotsford Convent and Bakery has 11 historic outbuildings including laundries and an industrial school. Once a rural refuge for 'fallen women' and orphans, it now sits in the middle of a busy suburb. Almost entirely self sufficient, the original occupants grew all their food and made their own clothes, including shoes and stockings. With stained glass porticoes, tessellated floors and columned walkways, today it's favored by bridal parties and locals alike. The gardens and fresh bread aromas beckon all manner of visitors. Even aspiring historical romance writers.

Somehow we managed to catch the last glimmer of sun before it set, duck the wintery wind, and even grab a loaf before closing time. What a blessing to travel the road together for a while. It's my pleasure to give a cheer for You Meng. I know she is going to capture amazing images of God's world and his people in the days to come. You might like to view the gallery of her work at youmengxphotography.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Happy Spring 
and other celebrations

Today we brought in 6 eggs from our chickens. No mean feat, when only 5 hens occupy the coop. How did this happen? I'm guessing one hen laid a little later yesterday, adding her egg to the nest to be gathered with this morning's fresh ones.

My chickens must have an inkling Spring is here, although you would be forgiven for thinking no one told Dreary Winter, with today's constant drizzle and grey skies. Yes, Spring is here officially but methinks the seasons are playing tricks on us all.

All except the chickens. Through the winter months, their egg contribution has been as rare as their teeth and I wondered when they'd get sorted and pay for room and board. After all, I don't run the Poulet Chalet. 

So imagine my delight at the half dozen I received today, on the first day of Spring. I was reminded of my first blog post exactly one year ago today, when I announced with great pride the first celebrated egg from this batch of hens. Just in time to usher in the new season and tying in oh so nicely with my first blog offering.

Fast forward by one year, and in many ways my chickens still remind me of... me.  Compelled by God's prodding I offer something of myself. Somedays it's a struggle and other days it's pure joy. Today, it's a celebration. One full year of sharing my thoughts and dreams with an amazing family of blogging friends who have become like family.

If you are someone who has read my blog, left a comment or emailed me during the last year, you need to know this: You have blessed my writing journey more than I can say. With each exchange you've drawn me closer to my dreams and cheered me on my way. Thank you for encouraging me, making me laugh and letting me share a small slice of Australia with you. Most of all, thank you for the wonderful fellowship we have savored together. Your words in response to mine, have carried and inspired me.

Along with my 6 brown eggs, it's the best birthday present ever!