Would C. S. Lewis be too distracted to write today?

I love reading about the writing habits of great writers. Maybe it’s because I’m looking for that one secret element that made them great. I guess there is one secret that’s consistent with all of them: they worked hard. So much harder than we do today. I’ll explain in a bit. But first, let’s look at what C.S. Lewis had to say about an ideal writing day in his book, Surprised by Joy: The Shape of my Early Life. “[I] settled into a routine which has ever since served in my mind as an archetype, so that what I still mean when I speak of a “normal” day (and lament that normal days are so rare) is a day of the Bookham pattern. For if I could please myself I would always live as I lived there. I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought me about eleven, so much the better. A step or so out of doors for a pint of beer would not do quite so well; for a man does not want to drink alone and if you meet a friend in the taproom the break is likely to be extended beyond its ten minutes. At one precisely lunch should be on the table…” This “Bookham pattern” he speaks of developed after his father withdrew him from public school and brought him home to be tutored. It was then that a daily routine he grew to love developed. And what writer wouldn’t love to have someone bring them coffee or tea, and have a lunch ready for us at 1:00 PM? It sounds heavenly to me, if not to you. But I suppose that there are things about my writing life that would appeal to Lewis as well–a microwave or Keurig for making tea for example. We may not have housekeepers but we have gadgets that serve us well. Or we serve them. Either way, I think Lewis would have enjoyed them. (PS I don’t have a Keurig but I’m accepting donations…) After his lunch, Lewis enjoyed a walk. This is something that I have yet to work into my day consistently. But I know I do feel better and have much more energy when I  exercise. And scientists claim that it makes us smarter: “Walking 40 minutes four times a week changed the size and organization of participants’ brains in one year, resulting in the formation of new neurons and larger memory centers, according to a study from the University of Illinois.”  (Source: Want to boost your...

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World Autism Awareness Day

I believe in confirmations from the Lord that I’m on the right track. And lately, with the hardships my family has experienced, I needed a little boost of confidence. Today is Autism Awareness Day. It’s a very special day for me because I am a Mom of twin adults (age 19) with autism. And it’s also a special day because I received my contract from Beacon Hill Press to write my proposed book, Pie in the Sky: A message of Hope, Healing and Hallelujahs for families living with autism. You might call it a coincidence that the contract arrived TODAY, on Autism Awareness Day, but I don’t believe too much in coincidences. I’m one of those faith people. I believe that when a soul talks to God, He talks back. I’m excited, yes, but I’m more concerned that I get this book right. That it touches lives and helps people. That it makes a difference. If you’re a family living with autism, I’d love your input. What do you need this book to address? If you’re a friend and know someone with autism, what questions do you have? If you’re a church and you want to know more about how to reach families living with autism — shoot me your questions! I am constantly amazed when I look at the world around me at the Lord’s ability to pay attention to us individually. His Presence is the most precious thing to me. And I covet your prayers that I’ll continue to seek Him and write what HE wants me to write in this book. Thank You, God, for being so big and able, and yet so personal to order our steps and speak to us where we are. Tweet This: I love someone with...

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God’s Unexpected Blessings

A week ago today I was feeling rather low. I even blogged about it I was feeling so bad. Then, one blessing after another flowed into my life in unexpected ways. I got good news. A check came in the mail. And by sheer Providence, I got to meet Temple Grandin and interview her face to face for a full 45 minutes! 45 minutes, people! 45 minutes! ME! Why? Because the other media failed to show up. So there I was, at the media meet and greet and it was just Temple and me, shootin’ the breeze about everything from autism to chickens to Australia. I will be writing a series of articles on Temple and will share them with you as I get them published. There is a preliminary article here: Exclusive: Temple Grandin named Manchester University Innovator of the Year. If you read last week’s post, you know that I had a talk with the Lord and He assured me I could trust Him with my life and I agreed to put it in His hands. (Why I keep taking it back as if I have a better idea than God remains a mystery. I’m fallible. And badly in need of a merciful God.) I guess more than I agreed to trust Him was that I agreed to stop fretting. I had to make myself rest in His assurance that He was in control and everything was going to be fine. And then this happened. I’m so glad I can trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense. This trust thing isn’t just for me. It’s for anyone who’s willing to rest in Him. Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at the things God has in store for you. Just. Rest. Tweet This: You’ll be amazed at the things God has in store for...

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Book Review: Daughters in Danger Helping Our Girls Thrive in Today’s Culture by By Elayne Bennett

Today for our Strong Girl post, I am going to share a book with you that I think mothers of girls everywhere in the United States should read. Daughters in Danger by Elayne Bennett is an extremely well-written book that reveals valuable information about a world that devalues girls and places pressure on them to desire the very things that will break their hearts. Bennett has been an advocate for young women for many years. She writes from this experience and a passion to reveal a different set of priorities and aspirations to girls growing up in a dangerous culture of sex, drugs, bad-body-image expectations and more. The first half of the book gives the reader a history of her involvement with young women and the culture that young women live in and face today. The second half of the book gives practical guidance to American families, schools, colleges, universities and churches. It also provides a model of the successful mentoring programs, Best Friends and Best Men. This is not a delicate read. It will take a fair amount of time to read. If you are strapped for time and aren’t interested in the statistics and facts and history of how we got to where we are today in the treatment and molding of our daughters, skip to chapter 10 where the practical helps start. This book was written, I believe, as a call to action on behalf of our young women. As a grandmother of seven granddaughters, I was extremely interested in what it had to say. I feel it could have been written more succinctly to reach a broader audience. Hopefully, something more handbook size can be written from it. For me, the book was just too much information in one volume. However, that’s not to say it wasn’t an impressively written book. It was. And because of its great depth, and amazing composition, I have a deeper appreciation and respect for Bennett’s work. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The reason it’s not 5 is because I don’t feel this is a book I can hand to parents and get them to read it. It’s written on a more academic level. The parents I work with wouldn’t wade through this much material. All of it’s good and I’m glad it’s written for posterity’s sake. But for parents with a reading level of about fifth-eighth grade level (the average reading level for most Americans), it’s just too much book. However, for pastors and teachers, it’s probably about right. Still, for busy people, again, it’s a lot of book. Set aside some time to read and digest it. I do recommend this book and have...

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Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?: How Moralism Suffocates Grace by Samuel C. Williamson

My degrees are in Christian Education. So as soon as author Samuel C. Williamson asked me to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity. Could it be that my life’s work has been for naught? Had I led a generation of kids and teens astray? I had to wonder because some of the kids I’d worked with through the years had not only left church, but had also strayed from the Christian faith all together. Would this book hold the answers for me? Why was this happening? I enjoyed this book so much that I want every teacher in my church to read it. This isn’t a book that slams Christian Education programs in the local church, but a book that explains the difference between the Good News of Jesus and the yolk of moralism that too many churches place upon their parishioners. On page 71 the author writes: “Our hope doesn’t depend on how good we’ve been…Our hope depends on seeing Jesus.” Are we revealing Jesus in the Old Testament stories? The Old Testament laws are to be a mirror showing us that we simply can’t ever be “good enough.” This mirror should make us grateful that we have a Savior. We can live in Grace. What freedom! But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD Jeremiah 9:24. Fact is, we can never be good enough for God. That’s why Jesus came. The message we need to send our kids in the Bible stories is that these people were able to act wise and good, ONLY because God’s GRACE enabled them and God’s GRACE strengthened them. God’s beauty kisses the beast in us. God’s grace is immeasurable and that’s the message we should be teaching people of all ages all over the world. Have I always incorporated this strong and most important message of grace? I’d like to think I have. But perhaps I could have done better. Perhaps the message of grace wasn’t clear enough. I am certainly determined to make it clearer now. Needless to say, this book receives five stars from me. I think it’s a must-read for every Christian–especially if they are teaching. And writers, you are teachers. Tweet This: Does your writing gift your reader with the knowledge of grace? What do you remember most about Sunday School growing up? I’d love to talk with you about it in the comments...

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