As I’ve had more and more birthdays, it is becoming more difficult to choose my birthday person (BDP). Of course, my first birthday person was my mom after that my sister who led me to the Lord and then pastors and people who nurtured my spiritual walk. The problem is I will not live long enough on this earth to thank all the people who have been so important to me. Therefore my birthday person or persons for 2019 is a collection of all those people who have shared Bible study with
I start with my current, weekly Bible study group. We sit around one of our tables and drink coffee, tea or Crystal Light, and eat popcorn or chips. Chatter about our week, and then open our Bibles or click on our phones and open our hearts to God‘s word.
In thinking of those who have changed my life through studying God’s word, faces swirl before me. Barbara with her Godly wisdom. Laura with her willingness to serve, Jean with her wonderful southern accent. Margaret and her sweet spirit. Cheryl with her humor and openness. Nancy with her thought-provoking questions. Linda who even prayers for her ex-husband. Lynn who always pushing the envelope to prod us to search further. And the kindness of all my wonderful neighbor Pat who was my BDP a few years ago. Many others who float in and out, like Linda E. who coordinates these coffee-cup, non-devotional Bible studies in our neighborhood. Each week it becomes more difficult to find the time to study, and yet, it becomes more important. You all keep me on track.
As I think of this group, other faces pop into the scene. Cynthia Robinson and my sister, Ouida. Wait a minute! That was about 60 years ago. We met each Saturday morning at about 6 o’clock and prayed together and study a little bit of God’s word. Then more faces come to mind—all those who sat beside me on Wednesday nights at the Methodist Youth “Buldge” in Tulia, Texas. Harry, Jimmy Inman, Charlie, Max, Mac, Mike, Linda and Ronnie, Julianna, Joyce, Joan, Sheran, Cheryl, Patricia, Patsy, Mickey, the Devins—each precious one—so many I can’t name them all. Gracelyn who drove us to
Further back, to the little Sunday Schoolroom at the top of the church. Ann who gave me my first Bible. Nita who made me laugh and shared her candy. Sherry who went with me to the pastor’s study to tell him about a friend who had cheated on a test and who sat with me while our pastor opened the Bible and discussed the beam in our own eye instead of the speck in our friend’s eye and all who loved me inspire of my ways. You all, my dearest, oldest friends in Christ are truly treasures of my heart.
The visions of Bible Study Groups past continued to surface. My “kids” in the Prairie Heights’ Youth Group in Grand Prairie—Connie, Jimmy, Sherry, Leslie, Karen and Karen, Rickey, Mathis, the really tall boy I had to shake my finger at for putting firecrackers in the barbecue grill and the one who brought “the” Rolling Stone cover. No, I was not wise enough. But God was. Was I smart enough to teach you? No! But God worked His miracle of love into our group. You were about 4 or 5 years younger than me, but God taught me so much through you.
The children I taught at Grand Prairie Ingelwood Methodist, and that wonderful group of young mom’s who met for brief studies, prayers, aerobics, and much need talking-to-adults time, thank you. To the ladies, I taught at Hillcrest in Arlington, thank you for listening and sharing.
Teenagers in Alvarado we had so much fun! And especially to the little ladies at Hillside in Alvarado. Your wisdom, spirit, and experiences totally inspired me. The stories of seeing those dear ones who have gone before you really gave me a peek into the next life. How blessed we were in those studies.
Brian Muirhead, Trudy Laird, Billy and the adult class with all the great discussions we shared. George and Val Shultz and your mission. To the classes of wonderful teenagers in Cedar Hill at the First UMC: you were incredible. Fred,
To my dear Sunday School friends at Acton UMC, not only did you learn with me, you ministered to us when we had 4 broken arms. Thank you so much for food, cleaning, opening Dr. Pepper bottles and rides to church. Linda and Bill, Debby, Echo, Linda, and more.
Last, thank you to my husband, who sits beside me in the church at Lakeside in Granbury and takes better notes than I do as we are taught by Pastor Mark. We’ve learned so much in these last few years.
To all those who have sat at the feet of Jesus with me, thank you.
Ice hangs from the trees under a gray winter sky. A pain in my left side forces me back under the covers. I snuggle deep, knowing I should be scheduling author visits and book signings. I glance at my phone and see an email from Nepris. Then I remember–Nepris doesn’t care if I’m in my PJs. They are requesting an online meeting with a group of Library Media Techs, who work in Cajon Valley USD. These techs and librarians are responsible for making real-world connections to a variety of professionals in each of their libraries.
They wanted to connect with a Children’s book author who can talk to them about previous connections with other schools and the impact that writing has for students in the long term.
Nepris asked me. I said, “Librarians? Of course!” I would have loved going to California but…
Karen Witemeyer has earned a place on my favorite author list. To
I love school visits. Since so many schools cannot afford author visits and as an author, I have to take off from writing, change out of my PJs and travel to a school. I still do that because I love kids. But due to the great work of the Nepris team, I can stay in my PJs (from the waist down) and my fuzzy slippers. I take 30 to 45 minutes and speak to classrooms across the country. One day, I play “Verb Ball” (a game from my book, Teach Writing Without a Pencil) with 5 classrooms at once. I’ve played “Similes Around the World” game with students in Chicago and Washington State. I’ve sung “Deep in the Heart of Texas” with Kindergarteners in Texas.
Monday I’ll be speaking to 20 librarians/media techs in California–a children author’s dream. It is also an honor since Nepris asked me to do this session.
In Luke 1 verse 55 where Mary praises God for fulfilling His promise to Abraham, Mary demonstrates amazing trust.
Jodi Thomas continues to make me laugh out loud, cry and sigh. Great read.
MaryLu Tyndall is an excellent author. I love her Christian Pirate Romance books. Yeah, really. Too cool and so full of God’s grace, mercy and power. Try at least 2. She Walks in Power or The Reckoning. Hopefully, MaryLu will have an ebook on the Liberty Bride.
For the past year, I’ve had the joy of editing a book for our Pastor, Mark Forrest from Lakeside Baptist Chuch in Granbury. Dickey and I have learned so much from Mark and pestered him to extend his ministry in book form for several years. Today, Mark’s first book, Soul Beginnings, came out on Amazon and in the next few months, there will be book signings and celebration. Tonight, I reflect on my journey as a kid who couldn’t even read in third grade, one who overcame Dyslexia and learned the craft of writing. Mostly, I’ve reflected on the journey God has carried me through. I’m so grateful Mark Forrest has trusted me to help with this book. I pray he continues to bless us with his illuminations of God’s Word.
A decade or four ago, I was forced to work in a special needs school. But I wanted to write Christian literature…especially the Sunday School literature for our church. So God sent me to learn from Matt. Below is the story of learning from Matt.
The Miracle of Matt
By Peggy Purser Freeman
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
“Just what am I doing in a place like this?” I had turned down this job assignment two years before, but now it was this job, as an aide in the school for the severe and profoundly disabled, or no job. This was the oldest building in the district. The walls reeked with fifty years of sweat, vomit, and vermin odor. It had been one of the city’s most beautiful facilities; now it warehoused the kids some administrators wanted out of sight and out of mind.
The small bathroom smelled of urine and human waste. The hard tile floor cut into my knees. I slung the jeans I had just pulled off the thin, braced legs of my nine-year-old charge and grumbled aloud.
“I wanted to write songs and stories for you, God.”
I had spent most of my three weeks at this job with Matt, trying to get him to go to the bathroom on the potty, put a block in a can or at least make eye contact.
To get him to look me in the eyes proved to be the most difficult. His eyes seemed to be the only thing he was able to control. He had no verbal skills, little motor control. All he had was the ability to look away or squeeze his eyes shut, anything but eye contact.
As I took the soiled underwear off Matt to clean his legs and bottom, I dropped the feces-covered underwear on my dress. “Oh, Matt, look what you’ve done!” I screamed.
He gave his soundless laugh and smiled a grin made toothless from the many falls his wobbly legs had taken. Most days that smile would have melted my heart, but not today. My love was stretched thin, and my patience broke. “God, I hate this.”
The small room grew still, and I felt Matt’s stare. I glanced up and met his eyes. Large and luminous, they looked into mine, staring into my soul. In the quietness of the moment, I heard words with my heart — not Matt’s voice and not mine.
“I didn’t ask you to rewrite Sunday school literature. I didn’t ask you to write songs. I said if you do it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto me.” Then Matt looked away.
God spoke to my heart in a most profound way in that smelly bathroom. In the years that followed, I learned to listen, and Matt taught me so many things. You don’t have to be capable of seesawing to sit on one and enjoy white clouds in a blue sky.
Soundless laughter and silent tears often communicate better than words. Life in its most simple form is sometimes life at its best. Probably the best lesson I learned: God talks the loudest through the weakest.
Life Tips: Teach your children to look for the good in disappointment, even when the plans are not those we would choose. Then take them with you to do for others—especially the least of these. Listen and to search for God in all situations and in all people. As you teach your children, stay teachable.
Chicken Soup for a Sick Scene and Sequel – A Tool to Engage Your Audience
I love family stories. Remember sitting around the table, telling stories, often the same stories year after year. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing–it can be a historical thriller or a book for your family. Chicken Soup story is a good way to study and practice writing a scene and sequel. If you sell your story at www.ChickenSoup.com, that’s great. If not, you have a great chapter for your family book. If you do sell it, you’re $200 richer. Have a question? Leave a comment.
If you teach writing to children check out the games in Teach Writing Without a Pencil
There’s 3 in a play…
It’s something you paint or take a picture of…
It’s what your child creates at your mother-in-law’s dinner party
A scene is the major part of a story.
A story is a narrative of events, a recounting of something that’s happened—either in the real world or in the fictional world.
Like a Play
A play can be broken up into three acts: beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is the setup, it creates the tension. The middle of the scene builds up and intensifies even more. The ending breaks down into two parts: climax and resolution.
Acts are broken down into scenes
Something you paint or photograph
You don’t tell about a scene
You have to show it.
A girl sits by her father. He slumps to the ground. He dies. She cries believes her life is over.
A scene is a conflict lived through by character and reader. Dwight Swain says that there are two functions of a scene –
To provide interest and
To move your story forward.
A scene can:
Can raise a question to intrigue your reader
Can be used to build characterization.
Can provide information.
But it always moves the story along
How long is a scene?
Swain says that time holds a scene together. A character lives through a scene, and there are no breaks in the flow of life.
A teenager arrives at Prom. He dances with the girl of his. When he stumbles on her dress, they fall. He leaves and the scene is over.
Use action verbs
Keep the internal thought to a minimum
Use a great deal of dialogue if possible. Dialogue is a nifty way to show how people feel without telling the reader.
Feel free to post it and I’ll give you an edit on it.
Chicken Soup asking for stories here…