_Today is the last of November, the thirtieth. I’m a beginning writer. I only began in January of 2011 having been directed toward this endeavor by God. I knew He was leading me away from the area in which I had been serving Him. Who would have thought the direction would be to begin writing Christian Fiction? Certainly not me.
I’m working on a series of three Life Fiction novels set in the town of Cottonwood, IA in 1875. They could also be called Historical Romance I suppose but Life Fiction seems to better express what I want to focus on. Romance is a large part of the stories but how the characters deal with challenges, personal sins, dealing with other people, consequences of sin, etc is more the goal of my writing.
That’s sort of all backstory. My topic for this blog is NANOWRIMO, affectionately known as Nano which is much easier to spell and say for that matter. The acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. This happens every November. Participants start on Nov. 1 with a new story and in the course of the thirty days write 50,000 words. The idea is not to write a polished, publishable novel but simply to get at least the specified number down on, well not paper, whatever word processor the writer typically uses.
My mother-in-law, Virginia, has a number of friends that go out with a couple of times a week. They’re all widows ranging from early eighties to mid nineties. They go out to eat, Wednesdays and Saturdays, going to specific places each day, making sure they get home before dark.
A friend fell a couple of weeks ago breaking her shoulder. On Sunday, Margery and Virginia went to visit her in a rehab facility in a town about forty-five minutes away. Both ladies live at their homes in the country.
We received a phone call from a friend at around 4:30 that afternoon. There had been an accident just about five miles from my mother-in-law’s home. True to form they were going to be home before dark.
The boys didn’t intend for it to happen. They just wanted to joy ride for a while. After all, their dad hadn’t forbidden them to take the car out. No matter that they were underage and didn’t have driver’s licenses. Thirty, 40, 50 mph. They chose back roads. Not much traffic. Less chance for getting caught. Fifty-five, 65, 75 mph.
The couple and their 11 year old son headed to celebrate the results of the test. After chemotherapy and radiation, the breast cancer was in remission. A pleasant dinner out was in store. Eighty, 85, 90 mph.
The boys laughing at their speed missed the stop sign. Their dad’s car had airbags which enabled them to walk away unharmed when they crashed into the side of the family’s car. The mother was killed instantly. The son was is intensive care for days and the hospital for weeks.
A sad story? Of course. Unfortunately, a true one that happened to a woman I knew. The boys’ choice to sin rippled in the effect it had on others. Just like the ripples caused when a stone in throne into the water sin has consequences that spread out to impact others in unforeseen ways. Maybe a better analogy is that sin is like an earthquake that occurs under the ocean causing a tsunami which surges out in all directions impacting land and lives miles away.
All choices have consequences which ripple through the lives of those we touch, on to touch those whom we do not know. The ripples can be devastating, or they can be profoundly profitable.
The woman was a fervent believer in Christ. She raised her children in the Lord, teaching them His Word. One of her daughters had a son whom she also raised in the Lord. A sickly child who grew to be a sickly adult. He became a pastor. Although his church has no longer exists the ripples of his, his grandmother’s and his mother’s faith are still evident on the pond of human experience. Do you remember Lois, Eunice and Timothy?
The ripple effect. We may not commit sins that take life or cause great bodily injury. We may not work for the Lord as pastors or in any way that the world, or even other Christians, see as great or effective. Each choice we make, whether in word or deed, ripples through the lives of others. We may never see or know whether our ripples gently rock another toward Christ or savagely crash their life away from Christ, but we do have the choice of remembering that we cause the ripples or tsunamis that travel out away from us in all directions.
It’s amazing to me that so many people do such stupid things for momentary pleasure not ever considering the future. We never know what the future will bring: what our opportunities will be, what challenges we will face. Yet, so many of us make really stupid choices for a moment’s enjoyment.
We all do this in small ways. I’m guilty of it with choices I make with food. I’ve done other stupid stuff in the past. Fortunately, nothing I did in my youth was stupid enough to cause lasting consequences which would come back to haunt me.
This past week Howard Cain, republican running for president, has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women. I’m not going to make any comments about whether he is guilty or innocent, whether the women are speaking truth or lies, etc.
What I am going to talk about the absence of forethought people use when making choices.
My pastor, a very wise and down to earth guy, says, “sin makes you stupid.” He is so write. When we sin, the choice is always stupid. Men seem especially vulnerable to sexual sin. How many politicians, who are male, have we discovered have a past which involves sexual sin? It’s been the downfall of many, mainly males, in prominent positions in elected office, church leadership, business, etc.
None of these people thought that their sin would have ramifications years down the line. Some may have had a marriage implode and family destroyed, which is terrible enough. How many thought about the opportunities destroyed, the embarrassment to themselves and those around, them twenty or thirty years later, when the prospect of advancing in their career or simply in their life, because they sinned years ago and it comes out now.
I’m sure that those who have lost careers because of sexual sin made public, you-tube videos displaying aberrant behavior, etc. reveals it for all to see.
Much is said about the value of transparency in our culture today. Being transparent in business, politics, accounting, all are expected to be transparent so others can see there is nothing unethical or illegal being done. Would that we would lead our lives that way.
When the Pharisees were trying to find something in Jesus’ life to bring charges against Him which would lead to His execution, they could find nothing. He lived a totally transparent life, and everyone knew it. Nothing could be said against Him, of course they made things up, but even those were convoluted tales.
By remembering that when we sin we are being stupid, maybe we can resist and do what is right. I think some good advice is: If you don’t want it splashed all over the tv news, the internet, or simply around town, don’t do it. If you want to have all the opportunities God may have in store for you, ten, twenty or thirty years from now, don’t be doing something stupid that, if it comes to light will prevent you from taking advantage of the blessing God wants to give you.
None of those who have had their careers destroyed had any idea that their sin would be brought back to them in the future. I’ll bet twenty years ago Howard Cain never thought he would be running for president.
The topic for this month’s blog chain is novem which means nine. So what do I write about the number 9.
Okay, well, um, it’s a nice round shaped number. It looks like an upside down 6, or maybe 6 looks like an upside down 9.
It’s a square, meaning that you can divide it by a number and have that number be the answer. In this case 3 X 3 = 9. So 3 is the square root on 9.
I like square numbers. 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81, 100. They were always the easy ones to learn when I was learning multiplication. That was at least 9,000,000 years ago, so it’s pretty neat to actually remember them.
Well, back to 9. Um, err, ah… 9 … Okay, cats. They have nine lives. I can talk about my cat. He’s 14 and used one of his when he was a kitten.
I was at an event 1 ½ hours away staying over night. It was in November. My son called me in the morning telling me that Snookers was hurt. I said I’d come right home. It was Sunday of course. Everything happens on Sunday.
We’d had the first snow of the season: about an inch. My #2 son went to call the kitty inside and heard him meowing from the yard. He went over and Snookers couldn’t move and the back of his left paw was skinned to the bone. With the help of #1 son, they got him into the house. Father isn’t a cat lover and also pretty much worthless with injuries and that sort of thing.
They had him wrapped in a towel when I got home. Snookers saw me and, just like a hurt child seeing its mother, started meowing for me to help him. We think he had be hit by a vehicle on the road.
We live in a rural area and the vet is both a large and small animal vet. He was willing to come into the office to see Snookers. The cat could move his front paws but not his back or tail. The paw was skinned clears to the bone of the joint. Deciding to X-ray him the next day we left him at the vet.
I received a call from the vet in the morning. His voice was stiff. He said that there was swelling around the spine and only time would tell if Snookers would get movement back. When I said that I’d come and get him, the vet’s relief was evident in his voice. I think he was afraid I would tell him to just put the cat down.
Well, over the course of the week, Snookers gradually got more and more movement back. It took much longer for his paw to heal. Today, you wouldn’t know anything had ever happened. The only thing is that the joint is fused stiff. It doesn’t seem to affect him in any way.
He’s my little buddy. Both sons are grown and gone. Snookers is still here and is such a good kitty. He may only have 8 of his 9 lives left, and I hope he’s here for a long time.
So much for my blog on 9, novem, which turned into a story about my cat.
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Sophie Dawson has made up stories in her head all her life. It wasn’t until 2011 that she began writing typing them out.
Her first books were all historical fiction romance. They’ve won multiple awards and garnered rave reviews. Now, Sophie is branching out into contemporary romance though she plans to continue writing historical and hopes to add more books in her popular Cottonwood and Stones Creek series.
Sophie lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. She’s an avid seamstress and was a professional quilter for a number of years before the writing bug bit. She’s just thankful it’s not fatal.