Thursday, November 22, 2012

"Give Thanks": What Does That Actually Mean?

Today is the American Thanksgiving.

For most of you, this means that you're spending time with family and extended family, making turkey and chicken and other Thanksgiving goodies, and preparing to stuff yourself silly (if you haven't already).

For us in Liberia, it means we have a chance to relax and enjoy the company of some other Americans (and their American food).  And yes, I fully plan on stuffing myself silly.

Besides the food, though, Thanksgiving is known for (what else?) "giving thanks".  But what does this look like?  We've heard "give thanks" so often; what does it actually mean?

The sheer number of references to thanksgiving in Scripture is overwhelming.  Here's just a sampling:


Psalms 7:17: "I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High."

Psalms 35:18: "I will give you thanks in the great assembly; among throngs of people I will praise you."

Psalms 69:30: "I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving."

Psalms 105:1: "Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."

1 Corinthians 1:4: "I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus."

2 Corinthians 9:11: "You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."

Ephesians 5:4: "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."

Ephesians 5:19-20: "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Philippians 4:6: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

Colossians 3:17: "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."


They even had entire psalms devoted for one purpose: to give thanks.  To praise God for what He has given us.

Obviously it's important, and obviously we're supposed to do it.

How do we do it?

Recently I've been reading a book by Francis A. Schaeffer called "True Spirituality".  Listen to his notes on giving thanks:


Then we find in Colossians 3:15: "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to that which ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful."  And verse 17: "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."  And again in Colossians 4:2: "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."

These words about thanksgiving are in one sense hard words.  They are beautiful, but they do not give us any room to move—the "all things" includes all things.

We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  And this is linked to the next verse, verse 19: "Quench not the Spirit."  Surely one thing is clear.  God says to us: in everything give thanks.

I think we can see all this in its proper perspective if we go back to Romans 1:21: "Because that, when they knew God, the glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasoning, and their foolish heart was darkened."  This is the central point: they were not thankful.  Instead of giving thanks they "became vain in their reasoning and their foolish heart was darkened."  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.  The beginning of mens' rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.  They did not have proper, thankful hearts—seeing themselves as creatures before the Creator and being bowed not only in their knees, but in their stubborn hearts.  The rebellion is a deliberate refusal to be the creature before the Creator, to the extent of being thankful.

Love must carry with it a "Thank you," not in a superficial or "official" way, but in being thankful and saying in the mind or with the voice, "Thank you" to God.

—"True Spirituality" by Francis A. Schaeffer, pgs. 11-12


Thankgiving, then, is humbling ourselves before the Creator of all and praising Him for what He has been gracious to give us.  And when we're giving thanks, we must be giving thanks in everything.

Why do we give thanks?  Because God deserves the glory.

We are creatures before an almighty God—and yet He has seen fit to give us so many things, even the death of His own Son.  How can we not be grateful?  And that's what Thanksgiving is, and must be—gratefulness and praise flowing from our mouths to the God who has graciously given us all things!

Glorify to God for what He has done this Thanksgiving: for the food, for the company, for the blessings of the past year, and yes, even for the trials of the past year.  We are strong in His presence—but we must enter His presence with a thankful heart.

In everything, give thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's the little things in life that often make us happy.

In this case, it's getting your word count after being behind-ish for a week. 

How's it going for you all?  Behind yet?  Usually by this time you're either pretty far behind, pretty far ahead, or cruising right on track.  Which one are you?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Overachievers, Part 2

Hello again.

Evidently my dear sister didn't read my post about how to encourage persons that aren't immortal and overachieving like themselves.  Take a look at these stats.  (And yes, I'm behind; I mean to make up for it this week, since I'm off school.)

Not terrible, right?  Yeah, just wait till you see what's next.

She finished her novel on the fifteenth.  Even worse, she's writing a SECOND NaNoWriMo novel with the same goal of 50k before December 1!

She's crazy.

Sheesh, I'll be happy if I can even make my goal tonight...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In Which Overachievers Are Rebuked (Nicely)

This is my word count.  (It actually isn't that bad.)

This is my sister's word count.

Anyone see the problem?

Yeah.  Seriously, overachievers, the worst way to encourage another NaNoWriMoer is to get wildly ahead. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Night of the Living Writer

No, really, that's the story of my life right now.

Night of the living writer. The “living” part is kind of surprising, seeing as I often feel dead after writing. The majority of my writing is done at night, after all, and while it's fairly quiet and gives me lots of time, it does tend to wear on my energy.

Also, today is national Whale Explosion Day. Search Oregon's Whale Explosion on Google and watch the 1970 video. It kind of helps you when you're brain-dead. (:

And besides this, I really don't have much else to post about, other than I'm still on track with my word count. I hit the big 20k today: my current count is 21,130. Not bad! The story is on track. It's a bit slow right now, but it'll pick up in the next five thousand words or so and then hurtle to the finish line.

To those of you who are behind, take courage! You can do it! If you're really in need of motivation, shoot me an email for a word war. I'm usually available from 10:00 PM GMT to anytime after that. (I'm six hours ahead of CST, and five ahead of EST, if you need a conversion chart. ^_^) My email's on the Contact Me page.

Speaking of word counts, how is yours? Those of you who are doing NaNoWriMo, are you ahead or behind? Those of you who aren't doing NaNoWriMo, what's your current project and how's it coming along?

I think Tornado C's lack of brevity is rubbing off on The Voice of God. My MC is about to be launched into the plot head-first, but I'm already eighty pages into the novel! I'm hoping to wrap it up at 50k or so, but who knows?

One thing's for sure...I won't make last year's mistake. If The Voice of God does get long, I'm going to finish it before moving on to other projects. (:

May the Ninja go with you! Or to quote the Myrkian goodbye, “Fare ye well and God ye bless!” Write like the wind, and may your keyboard burn with speed!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Ho, ho, to NaNo I go!

Popping in again, folks, this time with an excerpt. I wrote this bit of dialogue and then laughed myself silly over it. Not because it was funny, but because it was so fun to write.

I was experimenting with new cultures and accents. I borrowed from some British sources for inspiration (not lingo), but for the most part this is original. The names are mostly anything I can think of that sounds different than the rather “Western” fantasy culture I set up in the previous two books.


“I've guests,” Iorkus called back. “If ye go that way, tell the Lieu that I'll be there presently. These ones have been on their feet all this past day and I must get them settled in the quarterhouse.”

“Larky, Ior! Call him that again and he'll string ye entrails from one end of the 'Worg to the other!”

The man spoke so fast and with such animation that Edon had trouble following the conversation. The Myrkians might have spoken a civilized tongue, but their speech was queer.

“Ye take my word to him, or no?”

“I'll take it, Ior, but only if ye join me for a cup of coff and a game of cards later on. I know a corner of the 'Worg that even the Ecclesian can't sposh.”

“I'll take the coff if ye leave the cards,” Iorkus replied.

“I was playing fun with ye, Ior. No cards, then, and I'll get the Lieutenant that message prompt, eh?”

“Many thanks.”

(Note: Iorkus is pronounced “your-kiss” or “your-kuss”. Ior is pronounced “your”.)

How's it going for you all? Holding steady, I hope? Forth the words and count the bluffs!

Or something like that. [insert war cry here]  

What about you lot not doing NaNoWriMo?  Doing any writing, or is school currently digesting you?

Geronimo! Er, I mean, NaNoWriMo!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Energy? What's that?

Isn't this so beautiful and relaxing?

It's our beach.  We're lucky to have a beach, I suppose, and a five minute's walk from our house.  Unfortunately, I didn't take this picture, for two reasons.  

First, because I take awful pictures.

Second, because I was holed up in the house either writing, thinking about writing, procrastinating about writing, or listening to music (in order to brainstorm for writing).


Life resembles my mom's tea bag more than my beach paradise, however.


I need to write 1,500 words tonight in order to squeak by and achieve my goal, much less work ahead.

And I just now remembered that I had a word war scheduled two minutes ago.

Gotta go.

Go and write, people.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So It Begins

That's it. I've finally started NaNoWriMo. Book Three of the Prophecies is officially underway. After midnight last night, I wrote a flurry of words; my current word count is 1,748, or it was at the time of this writing.  (That's the problem with scheduled posts...)

How's your writing coming, folks? Reached that 1,667 word goal yet? It seems easy, doesn't it? Too easy, in fact. And it is. Believe me, just two hundred words will seem like a million a couple weeks from now. Enjoy the easy going while it lasts. ;)

Oh, and my apologies for not getting it up sooner, but I have written up a rough (and rather long) synopsis for The Voice of God. Feast your eyes upon this, mates!

Everything you know, everything you thought you's all wrong.”

Far beneath the ground, the realm of Myrk stirs for the first time in eras. They've tunneled deep and confined themselves from the rest of the world, but the coming of five strangers is going to change everything.

Edon Silversword is one of those five strangers. Once called the Champion, he discovers in Myrk that Arowdae has been lied to for generations. Combined with the news of his parents' deaths, he struggles to keep his faith. He's found the Prophecy of Einarr, but wracked with a strange illness and grappling with this news, he has to set out on a quest he's barely prepared for. Accompanied only by a Myrkian guide who won't stop talking, and his faithful friend Knerath, Edon must go far to the north, to the fabled Icedelves...and into the unnatural darkness created by the Daske.

In Myrk, his companions—Sirius, Ryni, and Rozan—have to stay behind to convince the pacifist High Presbytery of Myrk to defeat their subterranean enemies and rise up one last time to defend a country they thought they had abandoned. For a new Dreadman has arrived in Arowdae, and with new devices of war from his master, he begins to set in motion a plan to destroy all resistance against him.

At least, that's what they had planned. But when Sirius learns that the Dreadman is not the only new arrival in Arowdae, he faces a terrible decision: to disobey the strict orders of the High Presbytery and risk losing their support, or to set out on a desperate attempt to rescue the man he once called his father.

Meanwhile, in Kr'ark, the disappearance of the Silverswords leaves a gap in leadership. Farion steps in to fill the hole, but the people are growing complacent and he needs an army to fight off the encroaching darkness. With the false king Reine making moves to obtain control over the city, Farion struggles both with the burden of leadership and desperate loneliness.

The darkness is growing, and the faith of all followers of the High Lord is being tested. But there is one last promise held out in the Prophecy of Einarr, and it is the only way Edon Silversword may be able to make sense of the mess and regroup the scattered forces of good.

He holds on to the hope that he is promised: that he is the Witness, and will hear the voice of God.

Thoughts? Synposes of your own? Share away; but don't go reading my blog when you should be writing. Drop down and gimme 2k! ;)

To Start Off NaNoWriMo....Some Writing Advice From Snoopy

Hail and well met, NaNoers!  November has started at last.  I'd give you my word count, but alas, this post is pre-written and scheduled to post at 12:01 A.M. CST on November 1st.  By the time this posts, however, I'll have been in November for five hours already!

To start off NaNoWriMo well, I figured I'd give you something to lift your hearts and bolster your first writing surge of the month.  Presenting...writing advice from Snoopy!

How do you start a novel?  Drag in your heavy, romantic briefcase and get out your typewriters.  Snoopy lets us know how real page-turners start: with the mystery of a fantastic beginning sentence.

Next, he lets us know that real writing is hard work.  And to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month, it's going to take a LOT of hard work.  But we can get through it!

Also, Snoopy says, when presenting the beginning of your incredible work-in-progress to editors, make sure and be open to advice.  An open mind is always a good thing, so take the advice and make your story better.

In this one, Snoopy shows us how to write brilliant description: the strength is in the little details!

We all need editing, and Snoopy is no exception.  Edit as you go, but don't get so caught up in the editing that you stop writing the story!

Snoopy also lets us in on the secret to emotional scenes.  Dialogue is key!

In the next few sections, Snoopy tells us how to react to critique after the story is finished, and what to do when you send in your story to the publishers.

Well, there you have it...the complete guide to writing your NaNoWriMo novel.  (Many thanks to Snoopy for offering to make a guest appearance on my blog.) 

Happy writing, and may the best dwarf win!