Hand of the Lamb

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Skin’s so soft, I’m feeling fine bones.

Clenching tightly, I grasp on to hold.

This physical manifestation of what lies beneath

is strength that holds me up, when I can’t seem to breathe.

This hand offers softness in its effort to comfort

smooths over my soul, while giving me support.

I need His grace, mercy, hope and forgiveness

each and every day of my life – if I hope to last.

I need this hand of the lamb as I walk my daily path,

til the day when a hug will take the place of the hand.

 

*Photo CC0 from Pixabay

 

Christmas

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The Christmas Tree is an ancient custom that in modern days represents Jesus as an ever-living life, just as the evergreen tree continues to stay green through the winter. Over the years I have developed quite the affinity for the trim-a-tree tradition; so much so that some years I may have six or seven different themed trees!

My favorite part is the sparkling lights. I like plain white lights; they are like the stars on the night that Jesus was born (I know, I know-they say they don’t know the exact date, but still…). Also, the red ribbon reminds me of the blood that was shed for my salvation, and the reason for the birth of this babe. No matter how much time goes by, my favorite Christmas colors are always red, white and green. The gentle peaceful music and the kindness of the season are also wonderful parts of my favorite time of the year.

On the lighter side, my daughter and I bake cookies every Christmas. Last year I tried to skip it (anyone remember “Christmas with the Cranks?”), but she gallantly rallied and reminded me it was a tradition of the season. She graduates this year and I hope that she’ll still want to bake cookies with me when she comes back home from college. Our frosted sugar cookies make our home smell good, fill our bellies and warm our hearts.

Here’s a steaming mug of hot cocoa and a sweet sugar cookie held up to you as I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Cheers!

My Chai

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Chai is the tea that awakens me

in the mornings, as I speak with God,

energizing and warming my inside

with its steamy spice – I’m in awe.

What makes that creaminess roll

around my tongue so smoothly?

It’s like pulling fresh cream –

from a cow that’s still mooing.

What creates that zing of spice?

Is it anise, nutmeg or cinnamon?

Whatever the blend, I shan’t complain –

but especially don’t forget the cardamon.

Oh chai tea latte, my heart inflates

each day during my Bible study,

when you soothe my soul with luscious tea –

just as the Bible speaks to me.

Writer’s Digest Review

You_Are_Forgiven_Cover_for_KindleLast spring I entered my first (and only-finished-so-far-personal-labor-of-love) book in the Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards for 2016. Alas, I did not win. Not that I expected to, but I thought it would be worth a shot, you know – to take advantage of the opportunities that arise, eh? The truth is, even with little hope or expectation, I was still disappointed. The life of a writer…

But then something AMAZING happened!

Yesterday I received a review from them – on my very personal book, “You Are Forgiven.”

They marked me with all 4’s out of 5’s. Yes, folks – that’s a 4-star review from a monolith in my industry! They are the same people that produce the Writer’s Market, which most writers have a copy of on their shelves somewhere. They opened their doors in 1920, so they know their stuff.

Needless to say, I am thrilled and feel validated. (They are back on the nice list too!) And, of course I will be fixing the typo they caught!

So thank you, Anonymous Judge, for the book review you sent me from Writer’s Digest!

And…here it is, folks!

 

Citing: WD “Judge, 24th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.”

 

“Entry Title You Are Forgiven

Author: D. M. Paul

Judge Number: 39

Entry Category: Inspirational

 

Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 4

Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 4

Production Quality and Cover Design: 4

Plot and Story Appeal: 4

Character Appeal and Development: 4

Voice and Writing Style: 4

Judge’s Commentary:

The author demonstrates an impressive familiarity with and grasp of Scripture, and it’s very clear that faith is very important to this author. Reader feels that strength of belief and competency in wisdom, feeling immediately well-led in this journey. The opening, questioning why people ignore signs from God is an effective and engaging one, allowing the reader to connect not only to his or her penchant for expecting, hoping for and possibly demanding signs from God, but also to explore if and why we may ignore them when we get them. An excellent engagement section here for the reader. We are drawn in. Watch out for sections of ‘telling,’ not ‘showing’ – I spotted many sections here in which the author summarizes something that happened, scenes that would have come more to life with dialogue, action, reaction, thoughts and other scene-setting. Watch out for typos: on page 27, ‘Grow Growing into adulthood…’ Author’s writing voice is friendly and welcoming, yet still informative. Well done. I enjoyed the action statements, such as listening to Christian music only for a period of time, to assess one’s own personal effects. Well done. Author has a nice balance of insight and action here. There is comfort here in the book, some very unique insights on perennial interpretation challenges, and moments of great connection.”