A Note to Young Writers: Honor Your Obscurity by Leslie Leyland Fields

Great reminder for just enjoying all the seasons of your life and your craft

Northwest Christian Writers Association

NCWA blog welcomes back author and speaker, Leslie Leyland Fields! Leslie will be sharing with NCWA blog on the 3rd Monday of each month.


Leslie's picRecently, I spent time with two younger women, both of whom had just released their first book. Sarah and Andrea are both fine writers whom I expect will continue to write and publish books. In the short time I had with each of them, I dumped all my writing and marketing advice, talking about websites, blogging, Facebook, twitter. But I forgot to say the most important thing of all: honor your obscurity.

We know if we’re to be published in any form, we need a sizeable audience. And that most of the time, we have to find that audience before the first book contract lands on our desk. Once it does, and the book is out, we’re tasked to keep racking up bigger numbers. But…

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Joy is a curious thing. Cannot be manufactured, bought or borrowed. Does not come from the number of friends one has on Face book, Instagram or Twitter.

Joy is not influenced by external circumstances like wealth, large houses or luxury cars.

Joy is said to appear 300 times in the Bible. One such place is found in the book of James where we are encouraged to “count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds,…(James 1:2 ESV).

When things go wrong is not normally the time I feel particularly joyful.

But can I choose joy? Can I choose to focus on something, rather Someone bigger than my current circumstances? Yes, I can…

Or I can choose to feel sorry for myself, check out emotionally, get stinking mad none of which solves anything.

Rather, if I choose joy, realizing that this test of my faith will produce the glorious fruit of steadfastness (reliability, loyalty, dependability, trustworthy).  Much better than lemon face. Kind of like the way exercise makes me stronger even when it is hard.

Instead of lemon face, I get to walk around with smily face.

So then it’s a no brainier, I choose joy!



Baking Soda – Household Wonder

Baking Soda – A wonderworker
Baking soda has been around for a long time. In fact as a child (back during the time when dinosaurs roamed the earth) my mother used to use it for various applications in the home.
Today, I have rediscovered the “awesomeness” that is baking soda and have been using it all over my home as well as some applications that I did not know about before. Truly baking soda should have a cape as to me it is a “superhero”.
For your smile – I love to smile it is a small habit I picked up from my mom. Who knew that baking soda can help to protect that much loved habit. Apply a pinch or two to a wet toothbrush and brush your pearly whites. No more worries about running out of toothpaste again.
Hard Water – the water in this region of the country is very hard with an abundance of minerals. Leaving skin and clothes dry and hard. Enter baking soda. Just add a ½ – 1 cup of baking soda to your bath water or laundry and voila, soft alkalized water leaving your skin silky and your clothes fresh and clean.
Kitchen – soft scrub with great scrubbing power: for counters, sinks, ovens, range, pots and pans (follow manufacturers directions) refrigerators, microwaves, and more.
Bathrooms – dirt and scum be gone: enter our superhero to remove tough stains in sinks, showers, tubs, counters, toilets, tile, grout and more.
Unclog Toilets – let’s say your little one decides to throw the paper towel he/she just wiped their hands with in the toilet; make that several sheets. Hold off on calling the plumber. Baking soda to the rescue. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into bowl along with 1 cup distilled White Vinegar and let sit for at least half hour followed by 1 gallon of boiling water. Toilet should unclog if not something large may be blocking it. If so additional intervention is required. May need to manually remove object (please wear gloves) or you may need to call the plumber. (Better Homes and Garden)
Deodorizing your home – sprinkle a bit in the garbage pail, disposals and drains, for those with an affection of the feline variety (sprinkle some in the litter box). Keep a box in the fridge to food absorb odors.
Air Freshener – Fill a 4 oz glass jar 2/3 full of baking soda and add 30 – 60 drops of your favorite essential oils. Remove the center of the mason jar and replace with cheesecloth. Cover the jar. Place around your home in closets, kitchen pantry, laundry room, bathroom, bedroom or anywhere that you want to smell lovely. Keep for 30 days. But don’t just throw it out; sprinkle on the carpet. Let it set for 30 minutes and vacuum. Results a home that smells fresh and lovely. All of your friends will want to know your secret.
And yet there is more; so everyone go and grab some baking soda if you don’t already have some at home and try out some of these things for yourself.

Philippians 1:1-6

Philippians 1:1-6

Background (Zondervan Handbook to the Bible)

Philippi in Northern Greece was the first church established by Paul in Europe. It was founded in 50 AD during his second missionary tour (Acts 16:12-20).

When Paul, Silas and Timothy left, Luke the doctor stayed on.

Philippi was a medical center and may possible have been Luke’s home. He no doubt did much to put the group on its feet and continue the evangelistic outreach.

The letter reveals a church taking it’s share of suffering (1:29) and in some danger of division (1:27, 2:2)

This letter was written to encourage progress rather than to solve problems.

The Letter:          Paul was in chains when he wrote this letter (1:12)

                           The condition he describes seem harsher in Acts,

                           Judgment is imminent, and there is real possibility      

                           of death.

                          The Romans did not sentence people to prison they simply held them in custody awaiting judgment.

Paul writes: to explain why he was sending Epahproditus back; he wanted to thank them for their gift and he had news for them

The letter starts out with a greeting: Paul and Timothy bondservants of Jesus Christ. It demonstrates the same servant like attitude of Christ.

Paul is addressing all of the saints (Christians in Philippi) along with the overseers and deacons (deacons were charged with serving the congregation by handling the physical and material concerns of the church; while the bishops (overseers) were responsible for the spiritual welfare of the local church. The office of bishops is sometimes exchanged for the term elders.

Paul addresses this church with (joy v4). He gives thanks for them to God every time he thinks of them and prays for them continuously.

It is evident that the church in Philippi was a blessing to the Apostle. The same way that a parent is filled with joy when they hear that their children are doing well.

Paul was convinced that the work that the LORD began in this church will be completed and his confidence remained unshaken.

On a personal note I happen to love (v6) as well. …that He that began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. It fills me with joy to know that God is the One who began this good work in me. God and not me so that I don’t have to worry about whether or not it will continue, how is it going to turn out or when is it going to be completed.

The One who knows the end from the beginning will complete His work in me.

  1. It was indeed a good work begun in the Philippians and in all believers. “The work of grace has its root in the divine goodness of the Father, it is planted by the self-denying goodness of the Son, and it is daily watered by the goodness of the Holy Sprit; it springs from good and leads to good, and so is altogether good.” (Spurgeon)

ii.          Because this good work was begun, Paul was confident of its completion. God is a worker who completes His works. “Where is there an instance of God’s beginning any work and leaving it incomplete? Show me for once a world abandoned and thrown aside half formed; show me a universe cast off from the Great Potter’s wheel, with the design in outline, the clay half hardened, and the form unshapely from incompleteness.” (Spurgeon) 

iii. This work in the believer will not be finally complete until the day of Jesus Christ, which in context has the idea of the second coming of Jesus and our resurrection with Him. “Holy Scripture does not regard a man as perfect when the soul is perfected, it regards his body as being a part of himself; and as the body will not rise again from the grave till the coming of the Lord Jesus, when we shall be revealed in the perfection of our manhood, even as he will be revealed, that day of the second coming is set as the day of the finished work which God hath begun.” (Spurgeon)

Amen, what a marvelous promise.

Soli Deo Gloria




Walk in Truth III John

III John
The Apostle is writing to his friend Gaius. Whom he declares walks in truth. Further he describes Gaius as being generous, faithful in caring for others, loving the church, supporting the brethren and encouraging others in their missionary work. Wow, what a commendation.
Gaius is contrasted with Diotrephes whom The Apostle describes as loving to have preeminence in the church and refuses to receive the brethren or provide them with shelter, food or other necessities. Diotrephes also forbids others from the receiving the brethren (visiting missionaries) by putting them out of the church. The Apostle declares this to be evil.
Gaius is cautioned to practice only those deeds that are good. For he who does good is of God (11)
Demetrius is another person mentioned in this epistle. Demetrius has a good testimony to all.
John ends this letter with the hope that he will see his friend soon face to face.
My takeaway is to walk in truth and practice those things that are good and not evil.

Vinegar – Household wonder

White distilled vinegar mainly ascetic acid and water according to Wikipedia.  Vinegartips.com says: corn is distilled into corn alcohol; corn alcohol is combined with water and nutrients.  That combination is then fermented into white vinegar.  Corn! Who knew.

Heinz who have been making vinegar since 1869 reminds us that Vinegar is safe and versatile enough to be used around your home.

I agree, vinegar is great stuff to keep oh hand in your home for its multiple applications. 

Kitchen – Use as odor diminisher for strong foods (onions, garlic, cabbage, fish)heat about 1/4 – 1/2 cup in a pot on the stove for 10-15 minutes.  Add equal solution of water and vinegar, few drops of dish soap to spray bottle and use as inexpensive all purpose cleaner.  Wash fruit and vegetables, make salad dressings/marinades.  Wipe down counters to remove grease.  Remove mineral deposits from your coffee pot, by filling the reservoir with vinegar and running it through a brewing cycle (Heinz).

Furniture – Spay on furniture to stop cat from scratching it (vinegartips.com).

Bathroom – Spray on shower door and mirrors for a glistening clean finish.  Use as deodorizer. Combine with baking soda for cost effective cleanser for tub and shower walls.

Laundry – Use instead of laundry softener, use instead of dryer sheets for fresh smell (not perfumy) laundry.  Spray under the armpits of clothing before throwing in the wash.

Walls – Wipe down walls with a 50% solution to remove fingerprints, as well as odors (little known fact that our walls retain odors from cooking etc). 

Feet – everyone wants soft feet – combine 1 cup vinegar and 2 gallons of warm water; soak them in vinegar for 45 minutes.  Next scrub with a pumice stone.  (versatile vinegar.org) No need to spend money getting a pedicure.

Kids – build a volcano with your kids.

And there is much more.  And the best part – it will leave your wallet much fatter.