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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

As a person who habitually finds cats camped on my doorstep or yard, I have long wondered how they know MY yard–of all the yards in the area–is the ONE to come to. How can they make that decision?
I think I finally figured out the hobo signs that cats scratch on trees as they travel the neighborhoods, leaving clues for the next little furry feline vagabond who wanders along.
In my imagination, I see little claw marks along the bottoms of trees and posts that sort of resemble these figures, left by traveling cats to warn others of good and bad houses along the “kitty hobo trail”.
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Dog lives here — use caution
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Persons with gun
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Great garbage
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Even better Food
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Lots of Good food
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Crazy cat lady lives here
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Resident cats already here
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Can get a warm bed here
Bad dogs  would somehow feature a cute dog within a circle and slash
Naturally I have adopted a few little furry hoboes, after taking great pains and time to tame them down. Without exception, once they are moved inside, they acclimate within a few days and never look back on their wild wandering days. A couple have remained (years later) suspicious of all humans and visitors, while others have adopted a tolerance of anyone who might want to pat them.
Whatever their origins–feral colony, second generation wild cat, or just homeless waif– I have loved them all and they have all enriched my life in their unique ways.
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Enduring Trials

 

Enduring Trials God’s Way, by Scott LaPierre is a book that’s a unique blend of Old Testament prophesies and New Testament fulfillment. This book will redirect the suffering reader’s focus from a single layer prospective to a new, uplifting outlook.

Scott’s very straight-forward approach to writing and an educational–though encouraging–delivery shows his pastoral background. The book is absolutely chock-full of solid scripture and concise examples to aid the reader through their struggles and trials.

This is an excellent resource, meant to transform the reader’s view on suffering and trials to one of encouragement. It offers undeniable proof that God is 1–in control, 2– seeing our pain, 3- alongside us during our trials, and 4– planning a good end to our trials and suffering. An entire chapter is dedicated to finding the good end God has in mind for our suffering and trials of today.

This is a book that should be highlighted and underlined. There are heavy references to Job, Joseph and other heroes of pain and trials. There are fantastic insights and a particular favorite was this: if we repent and stop a sin(s), that void now must be filled by doing something else. The intention is that one now does something positive to replace the negative (sin) of before. This seems much like saying for every negative action (or sin) that we stop, there is now an equal and positive reaction.  That sort of insight causes the reader to pause and contemplate.

There are series of questions at the end of each chapter for the reader to record personal reflections or have a discussion with a small group. This book is a resource that would be fine read alone or as a group study.

Finally, I would mention the author also has another book, entitled “Marriage God’s Way.” For anyone searching for ways to strengthen their marriage and make it how God intended holy matrimony to be, it would behoove them to check this title out as well.

Links to connect with Scott LaPierre or purchase his books are:

https://scottlapierre.org/                              Twitter @PastorWCC

 

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Where do you get your inspiration? What do you do with it once it arrives, a gift from your muse? What inspires you to do the things that you do?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about inspiration and where mine comes from.inspiration

The short answer: everywhere. Seriously, inspiration is found–at least for me–everywhere and anywhere. While I would like to say I can simply sit somewhere like this picturesque table, gaze out across the lacy curtains and see flowers bobbing in the summer breeze, and easily dream up endless plots and characters–the reality is it usually doesn’t happen like that. At least not to me.

My ideas tend to be born from some sort of action. It might be as easy as reading a magazine article or listening to a song on the radio. Something might resonate and spark an idea. It happens. Pictures are awesome at germinating ideas. My whole novel, “Chasing the Painted Skies” was birthed from this one photo:

CPS Inspiration

From a 1988 calendar to a completed novel:

CHASING THE PAINTED SKIES_1800x2700Part mystery, part shifter, part treasure hunt, a dash of ghost story and all romance.

The heroine’s last name and the treasure idea came from when I saw a plumber’s van at a traffic light. “Coyne’s Plumbing'” became Raven Koynes and a quest for sunken treasure, which required more characters and enhanced the plot.

A photograph that served as an advertisement in a fashion catalogue became a driving force behind the Christian romance released this past November

besidestillwaters400

 

 

 

 

A character was introduced into the story based on me passing an inflatable Santa Claus on my way to work one day and a headline immediately leapt to mind. I knew that was the best way to introduce my troubled teen to the story of “Beside Still Waters”.

More recently, as wildfires ravished within miles of my house, eating up thousands of acres of forest, and destroying homes and businesses across the mountain in Eastern Tennessee, I had another great thought. I was out cleaning dry leaves away from the foundation, reducing the potential fuel for the flames, when something sprang to mind. Quickly I went inside to write it down, left I forget it. I’ve no idea what I will do with it, though I have some thoughts for when time allows.

It was as if God Himself withdrew a hand and swore no more water would fall due to the sins of the people.  {Character} swore as well, softly, pinching two fingers over the bridge of {his/her} nose. They needed the rain, desperately. Any rain. If {character} thought it would help, {he/she} would personally go to the nearest church, synagogue, whatever, and beg forgiveness for the entire town’s population,  a for the heaping amount of {his/her’s} as well.

     Because someone in {town} must have really screwed up to deserve this.

     {Character’s} teams couldn’t keep up. {Include number of heavy equipment} and they could not make a dent in the raging flames. They needed real, hard, rain, pouring from the sky in steady sheets. Endless rain. Otherwise, this out-of-control and control-defying wildfire was going to eat up every square mile of {town}.

And because we really did have a season-long drought and dry winds fueling the fire, I added another character’s POV within the hour, deciding this would be a twin or triplet story, with each sibling having a part in the tragedy as it unfolds. That was the Incident Management Firefighter’s POV. This would belong to another sibling, a law enforcement official:

      Everyone pretty much blamed Jody Ray McAllister for starting the fires. Old Jody Ray was a local wood tick, who doubled as the town handyman. He hired out to do anything for anyone needed an odd job done for a few dollars. He would mow, trim, cut, roof, dig, saw, hammer or tune up a car among other chores. He’d change oil, rotate tires, run a chain saw or move your furniture.  The school hired him to keep the grass cut and so did the library and sheriff’s office.

The only problem was Jody Ray loved to drink. And he drank a lot, unless he was actively working or lighting up the doobies. Sometimes he did both at the time. And that would explain how he could have started this damn fire.

So when the fire started,  and grew thanks to the month’s-long drought, and started eating up people’s homes and businesses, fingers were itching to point. Knowing that people would next be getting lawyers, the good sheriff promptly arrested old Jody Ray for reckless endangerment of a fire and burning without a permit.  Just to cover up his butt, he tested Jody Ray for alcohol and drugs. Except, and it had to be a miracle, Jody Ray came back clean. So he was tested a second time, and came back clean again. And there was no proof his little trash fire burned out of control when {character} checked it out. There was no away anyone could prove Jody Ray created the monster that was presently eating {town}.

It would have made everyone’s life, including his and the good sheriff, if Jody Ray had come back positive for increased blood alcohol or any drug. Even aspirin. As it was, all the sheriff had on him was burning trash without a permit. But that wasn’t keeping him from letting Jody Ray out of jail just yet.

Somebody was going to have to spill some sacrificial blood over this fire and it was {character’s} job to make sure it was the guilty person.

Okay, two POV’s, two related, estranged characters invested in one story. Not a bad start, though it needs lots of work. The truth that born this saga turned out to be some young kids playing around and setting the fires that burned Appalachia this past autumn. By following the real story, so close to home, gave me lots of reference material to draw from and a have a file bulging with notes and reference sites.

Earlier this year, again I was driving to work and spotted police tape stretched across a random driveway I pass each day. Initially I thought it to be a Halloween prank or decoration of some macabre sort. It remained flapping in the wind for about four days. The following is something just as somber that was born from passing that scene each day. Again, not a clue what, if anything, will become of it, but it sure has a promising beginning…

The yellow police tape fluttered in the cold wind as it waved from the leafless tree trunk to the car’s door handle to the porch railing like a bright serpent, and finally ending as a ribbon barrier, sealing off the driveway. A scrawny black cat slinking around the discarded bike and under the caution tape was the only other movement. The windows in the old house were dark, lifeless, and the layer of dust collected on the medium brown car, a testament to the recent lack of rain.

     She stood, shoulders hunched against the wind, hands balled in the pockets of her jacket. This was going to be one big mess.

Now, whether she is a good character or the antagonist, I’ve yet to determine. Also, there is nothing else beyond this dark and mysterious beginning. Interestingly, the house was actually a very pretty two story, in  a nice neighborhood, with an RV covered with a tarpaulin at the side of the garage. I’ve never seen any pets wandering freely. But it sure sounds good. . .

Another time I was sitting at a traffic light, waiting, and spotted a vintage Ford Mustang across the intersection. I don’t recall the exact reddish color now but I did think it would look really neat in seafoam green. Now, what character did I have that would drive a vintage seafoam green Ford Mustang?

Ah ha! A guy from my then work-in-progress women’s lit entitled “Raine’s Promise”. I was just developing him and my mind took wings! Ford de Galetti  restores classic cars as a hobby, so naturally he kept the Mustang as a reminder of his late brother who used to restore them with him. Throw Dad in there too and you have a family, background on the love-interest character and a good start at fleshing him out.

     She swirled her wine glass thoughtfully. “Ford.” She tested the name, gauging his reaction to it. “Your name and you drive one.”

      He smiled. “Ah, yes, the Mustang. A classic dear thing.”

      She pondered that. “It’s a car. Did you buy it just so you could drive something with your name on it?”

      “Hardly. I did not buy the Mustang. You might say it was a gift.”

      Okay, that caught her attention. Who would give a classic car as a gift? “I sense a story in there.”

      “Indeed.” He emptied his glass, looked into the bottom for a long moment and slowly pulled his face back to Raine. The sorrow in the depths of his dark eyes surprised her.

     “My brother was named Lance, for the Lancia automobile manufacturer. I was named for the Ford Corporation. My dad really had a thing for classic cars. Lance and Dad loved to restore them. Lance always somehow sniffed them out, even better than Dad could. For them it was a form of male bonding. So Lance found this derelict Mustang in some barn one day. The three of us rode up in Dad’s old pickup to collect it. It was dreadfully rusty, but in decent shape. Better than some of the rust buckets Lance and Dad have found over the years. A few of them I would have asked to see the title to prove what exactly it was, but they just seemed to instinctively know.

      It was not unusual to bring assorted pieces of cars back on the trailer or pick up bed as well, somehow fitting them together into a classic vehicle.

      So we brought the Mustang back, rattling behind on Dad’s trailer. It was coated with inches of dust but Lance saw great potential in it. He decided on that unique sea-foam green color as well. We were nearly finished when we lost Lance. Dad and I completed the restoration and I drive it in Lance’s memory.”

      Finished, he coughed once. Raine pulled back, not aware she had leaned into his story, reaching closer to him. She licked her lips, thinking it through. “Thank you for sharing that. How did you lose Lance?”

     Ford’s eyes fell to the table and he brushed a crumb away. “He was a weekend warrior in the Reserves. His unit had been called into active duty as we were almost finished with the Mustang. He was six months into his tour when he and another unit member took a direct hit.”  

      “Ford, I’m sorry.”

       He shook his head. “Don’t be. We have shared many great years. Cars have been the glue that kept us close. I remember one in particular, a 1933 chopped Ford Coupe. It looked just like the ‘Eliminator’ when we finished, I half expected to see ZZ Top climb out. The ’57 Mustang is just one of many fine memories Dad and I have of Lance. It was fate to be his final restoration and classics were their passion.” He shrugged, mustering a tiny smile. “No regrets.”

       “And what about you?” The question tumbled from her lips. Perhaps she had been thinking of her own brother overseas now, always hoping he came back safe. Or just feeling Ford’s strong emotions tugging at her.

       “I have a passion for my family. For anyone I love.”

       His earnest answer, coupled with the intense look in his brown eyes, sent chills quivering along Raine’s spine

Not too bad for just seeing a classic car across an intersection at the red light.

cartoon-inspiration

 

 

 

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