Thursday, February 04, 2010

Counting Blessings

Three things this morning have put me in a thankful mindset. One is a comment to an earlier post by fellow writer Carla Gade, who has experienced some of the same struggles I've met along my writing journey. Carla had this to say and I think it worth repeating:

"I always feel like it takes me the long way around to get any clarity of thought or organization. And when I do it is always with an extreme attention to detail to make sure it is correct. It's a challenge to say the least. So if the Lord ever allows me to be published it will be such a huge accomplishment for me and a testimony to his faithfulness and grace in my life. If I don't get published, I still am grateful because every day is a true miracle."

I never tire of remembering what it felt like those first few months after God enabled me to write again the kind of complex historical fiction I once produced, after five years of chemo fog. As if each day I sat down to write and strung words together was a precious gift, because it was. As if I needed to pinch myself to be sure I wasn't dreaming, that I was actually writing, and it wasn't discouraging or frustrating me anymore. Challenging yes. Always that. But not making me feel like it was hopeless and my time would be better spent elsewhere. I'm always happy for anything that renews that sense in me and causes me to see each day of writing work as a gift, never to be taken for granted.

Another reminder came this morning in a devotional book I'm reading, Becoming A Vessel God Can Use. In today's reading author Donna Partow included a prayer by a 17th Century nun. It appears to be widely known, although its author is not. It resonated with me on many levels (aches and pains, anyone?), but today most of all as a writer.
Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself, that I am growing older and will some day be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips from aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a sureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint - some of them are so hard to live with - but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.
Last but not least, Laura Frantz's blog post today put me in the mood for listing the books I'm currently reading, few of which have made it over into the sidebar yet. Most of them, including the fiction, are research for WILLA. Each is in its way a blessing.

Becoming a Vessel God Can Use, by Donna Partow
The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), edited by Michael Fitzgerald
Madeleine L'Engle {Herself}, Reflections on a Writing Life, compiled by Carole Chase
Children of the Longhouse, by Joseph Bruchac (fiction)
Writing The Other, A Practical Approach, by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward
A Company of Heroes: the American Frontier, 1775-1783, by Dale Van Every
Christopher Columbus and His Legacy, Opposing Viewpoints, edited by Mary Ellen Jones
The Red Heart, by James Alexander Thom (fiction)
Indians, by Edwin Tunis
Forgotten Allies, The Oneida Indians and the American Revolution, by Joseph Glatthaar & James Martin
The Natures of John and William Bartram, by Thomas P. Slaughter
Joseph Brant, Mohawk Chief, by Jonathan Bolton & Claire Wilson
The Bloody Mohawk, by T. Wood Clarke
1 Corinthians (personal thru-the-Bible devotional reading)

Aside from my devotional reading and a few others, I don't read all those titles every day, but I'm working my way through them all. Usually two or three titles rise to the top of the stack and hold the bulk of my attention, and I spend most of my reading time on them, fitting in the others as I can. 

Feel free to share your own reading list in the comments. I find some of the best books when others share their current reads.

2 comments:

  1. Lori, What a beautiful prayer! I'm not to that part of the Partow study but can't wait. Carla's comments are beautiful and insightful and full of praise.
    I know my journey to publication was nothing but a miracle as I had no contacts, no agent, nothing. God became my all in that journey and I found He was all I needed. I like to keep fresh what He's done for me when I get unsettled about the path I'm on.
    Great list of books! I'm enjoying my Affectionately Yours, George Washington (his personal letters) the most right now, along with the costuming books.
    Happy reading and writing to you today!

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  2. Laura, I almost dropped behind this week because a couple of days I didn't get up on time, and missed the time I would normally have read that book. That prayer is in the fifth week. I love it that your journey to publication came about just as it did, because in a lot of ways it shows that if God has it in mind for a writer to be published, He has limitless ways of going about it.

    The George Washington book sounds like something Brian (hubby) would like to read. I've read one or two books about GW, but he is a special interest of Brian's.

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