Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Encouragement from the strangest place

As I mentioned in my last post, B. and I have been pretty discouraged lately. He hasn't been getting enough business to keep going, and the bills keep piling up. But since last week there have been a few positive signs.

One surprising blessing was the big snowstorm this weekend- B. got called out to put his skidloader to work pushing snow. Some much needed extra cash - thank you, Lord!

He also has about 2 weeks worth of new work lined up. 2 weeks isn't much, but still, part of the Lord's Prayer is to "give thanks for your DAILY bread".

Finally, the book Open Season by C.J. Box - talk about encouragement from the strangest place. It's not even remotely a Christian book, but God can use anything to lift our hearts. I borrowed this from my friend who is an inexhaustible source of great books (H.L.) and when I started reading it, I immediately thought that B. would really, really like this.

So I started reading it out loud to him that evening and sure enough he got hooked and finished reading it himself in record time (we almost had a wrestling match at one point over the book).

What fascinated us both about this book, besides being set in Wyoming (google Crazy Woman Canyon, Wyoming), and being a really edge-of-your-seat murder mystery, is that the hero's family is basically our family - very similar situation (minus the dead body in the backyard, thank goodness). Well, it could be a lot of families, I'm not saying our situation is unique.

Joe Pickett, Wyoming Game Warden, gets a call from headquarters in Cheyenne. He makes the six hour drive, only to discover that he's fired. He drives back home in state of depression (Game wardens live in state houses and drive state trucks, so not only had he lost his job, but also his home, and his pickup truck, and for a Wyoming man, your losing your pickup truck is the lowest blow possible). He's dreading having to tell his wife what has happened. He has to stop at a bar first, to fortify himself. Then he spills the beans. His wife listens quietly. He's expecting her to pack up the kids and leave. This is kind of the last straw - they've been through all sorts of other troubles leading up to this darkest moment.

But instead of freaking out, his wife stands firmly at his side. She believes in him, and she tells him so.

Of course everything ends up working out (a few gunshots and trips to the hospital later), but that was the defining moment for B. and I. We're at a pretty dark moment here, but we believe in each other, and we also believe in the Lord, which is a pretty awesome place to be.

A few other notes. Here is the latest verse I'm working on for Beth Moore's scripture memory challenge.

Psalm 34:1-2 NIV
I will praise the Lord at all times
His praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the Lord,
Let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

I plan to memorize this whole Psalm. Verse 4 "I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears" has been a mainstay in my life for 10 years now, and the whole Psalm is worth memorizing.

Last, writing progress. I got bogged down at the end of chapter 3 with the introduction of new character who just wasn't "sounding" right. So, to keep momentum I skipped ahead. Got as far as Chapter 5 and bogged down again because I needed to reference that conversation in Chapter 3 that I had skipped because the voice wasn't right. After staring glumly at my computer screen for a while (and turning off my wireless because Facebook kept distracting me), I came to the frustrating conclusion that this particular character isn't developed enough to sound authentic, and he's an important character, so that means - research & development.

Last year I bought materials from author Holly Lisle's "Create A Character Clinic" - kind of glanced over it but didn't do anything. So yesterday I unearthed it and started shooting interview style questions at my character. She provides hundreds of different questions such as "what is the character's compelling need?" "what pain does he most fear?" and so forth. You can pick any of the questions that interest you and skip the ones that don't, though sometimes pursuing what may seem like an "n/a" question ends up leading down new and fascinating paths. Or, should I call it a rabbit trail? If it doesn't get me past the chapter 3 road block by next week, it's definitely a rabbit trail.

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