“Joy and pain …
two arteries of the one heart
that pumps through all those who don’t
numb themselves to really living.”
—Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts
Salt and pepper, sweet and sour, comedy and drama—polar opposites that complement each other, enhancing the whole. Let’s face it—too much salt and not enough pepper prunes the tongue and scrunches the nose, ruining the taste. Too much sweet sickens the stomach, diminishing its appeal, diluting the wonder of favorite things like peach cobbler, red velvet cake or Reeses Cups. And I’m sorry, but those things are TOO wonderful to not enjoy fully.
And just when does one enjoy favorite things more fully? Well, how ‘bout that first burst of sweetness from a Hershey bar after a diet? That low moan when you sample a favorite dessert you haven’t had in a long, long time? Or even that first savor of chunky chicken noodle soup that you can finally taste when you’re appetite returns after the flu? The truth is NOTHING in life would look, taste, feel, smell or sound as good if there wasn’t a polar opposite to heighten the joy of things we love, an absence makes the heart grow fonder, if you will.
And actually, it’s the same thing with drama and comedy, as I point out in a Seeker blog I wrote once entitled “Ho-Ho-Ho! Funny You should Say That … Or Putting Humor in our Writing (http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2011/12/ho-ho-ho-funny-you-should-say-that-or.html).
You see, this blog on humor points out all too well how humor helps to enhance a dramatic scene as well as provide comic relief from anything too heavy. And quite frankly, too much humor makes my jaws ache from laughing and my stomach hurt because the bottom line is, we need the one to really enjoy the other.
Unfortunately, this is a fact I learn all too well in the month of December. Especially this December when I have a book deadline of January 15 and still have a 100 pages to go in the novel. YIKES!!! Didn’t plan it, but somehow I managed to bunch up three books releasing in a six-month span, and life has been CRAZEEEE!! Then add Christmas to the mix along with a Christmas e-book for which I have to do all promotion myself, and my back gets pushed to the wall. Unfortunately, this tends to pull the plug on my Christmas joy and pop my bubble of passion, leaving me flat, dull, and without the slightest desire to open my laptop. The fire and fervor that usually flows through my veins sludges to a cold stop, robbing me of the ability to work on things with deadlines looming. Of course I mope, I cry, I get mad. And then I get on my knees.
Oh the highs of lows of being a human being! That roller-coaster of laughter and tears, success and failure that zooms us to the heights, only to careen us into the valleys below. And yet, without the lows, the highs would never be fully appreciated and would, in fact, become commonplace and dull, grossly unappreciated, evoking little or no gratitude.
And gratitude, my dear friends, is everything. It’s the path to joy as Ann Voskamp so beautifully points out in her amazing New York Times bestseller, One Thousand Gifts (A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).
Soooo … how can the negatives of a being a human being—sickness, financial difficulties, deadlines, conflict, etc.—possibly enhance our lives, you ask? Oh, honey, by drawing us closer to HIM, because when push comes to shove, hurt comes to tears, hope comes to despair, the God who loves us with “an everlasting love,” Who guards us as the “apple of His eye” is waiting to scoop us up, dry our tears and adjust our perspective. Gently, lovingly whispering in our ear that that awful thing that so disappointed us never did or ever could contain the joy we so desperately seek. No amount of success, money or even blessing from the hand of God such as a wonderful marriage and life, can EVER fulfill like the love of God. To teach the ongoing lesson that it’s only the lows, the valleys, the pain … that will set us free from focus on self, which like too much “sweet,” sickens the soul.
Today, the laptop is open and the hearth fire burning again, both in my cozy, twinkle-light hearth room and in my heart. Passion runs high yet again because I know I have a God who loves me SO much, He takes great pains to keep my focus on Him—the true source of all joy, hope and peace. Like a loving parent who insists a child wear seatbelts no matter the tantrum, He knows our journey is SO much more enjoyable and safe when we rest in His arms and are girded by His precepts. It’s not about the pretty sights we pass as we look out the window, it’s about the destination and the journey home … where hearth fires burn and His love warms our souls. Home to Him … the God who has a plan and a purpose for each of us if only we focus on Him instead of our circumstances, praising Him, thanking Him in the midst of good and bad, sweet or sour, laughter or tears. Because He is the God of all, the Light to our dark, the Hope to our despair, and the true Path for our souls.
I have been blessed with the privilege of being on the cover of The Book Club Network’s Book Fun Magazine for December, so to say thank you to Nora St. Laurent and her husband Fred, I am holding a contest to drive subscriptions to this wonderful and TOTALLY FREE e-magazine. Inside you will not only find an extensive interview with me, but 88 pages of awesome articles including regular columns such as Passionate Spouse, Family Book Club, and articles by Kim Woodhouse, Jeff Petherick and Sandie D. Bricker, as well as two hilarious articles by Renae Brumbaugh.
SO, WHAT DO YOU WIN??? A $150 VALUE AS FOLLOWS:
— A KINDLE (or equivalent gift card for $69)
— COPY OF THE WELL BY MARK HALL (the fabulous book mentioned above)
— YOUR CHOICE OF ANY OF MY BOOKS
— CHOICE OF FIVE OF THE FOLLOWING CBA BOOKS:
—Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
—Redemption by Karen Kingsbury
—And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
—The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
—Faith by Lori Copeland
—Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren
—Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough
—Out of Control by Mary Connealy
—Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green
—House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson
—Breathe by Lisa Bergren
—Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan
—Snow Angel by Jamie Carie
—A Lady of Secret Devotion by Tracie Peterson
—The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
SO, HOW DO YOU WIN? Simply get as many people as you can to sign up for a FREE subscription to Book Fun Magazine, 1 entry per subscription. If you personally subscribe or have already subscribed, that is an automatic entry. Please let me know the number of subscriptions you’ve gotten by contacting me through my website or Facebook. The winner from this random drawing will be announced in my December 28 Journal Jot.
IT’S EASY, IT’S FREE AND IT’S A GREAT MAGAZINE that will automatically come via e-mail each month, so here’s the link and GOOD LUCK IN THE CONTEST!!
HEY … DID YOU LIKE STEVEN O’CONNOR IN A LOVE SURRENDERED? Here’s your chance to vote for him (or another favorite hero) in the following “Hero of the Year” contest. Vote and leave a comment and be entered to win the book of their choice (including A Love Surrendered!) from any of the heroes’ books featured this year. Here’s the link and GOOD LUCK!!
BLOG INTERVIEW GIVEAWAYS:
SURPRISE LAST-MINUTE GIVEAWAY OF THREE COPIES OF A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW!!
Sweet Carrie Fancett Pagels is giving away THREE COPIES of A Light in the Window with her review of said book at the following link, so hop on over to:
ENDS DECEMBER 7, 2012:
Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a giveaway on LENA NELSON DOOLEY’S blog at:
ENDS DECEMBER 10, 2012:
Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a giveaway on THE SWORD AND THE SPIRIT blog at:
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2012:
Win your choice of any of my books including A Love Surrendered and my Christmas e-book A Light in the Window: An Irish Christmas Love Story at a giveaway on my Seeker blog entitled, “A Christmas Story …” Here’s the link and hope to see you there!
HUGS AND HAPPY WEEKEND!!