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

 

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Christmas

Version 2

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.”

 

HL Pic Series: 5-Ashley

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Ashley stared at the flap-like piece sticking out of the gigantic formation. She’d heard about the strange growth from some of her cycling friends, but did not believe them. Instead, she decided to ride out into the desert by herself to see it; proof was in the sighting – or so her parents had always said. So, she loaded her backpack with a towel, sunscreen, snacks and water and rode her bike eight miles out of town to get a closer view of Paddle Rock. It’s weird! I wonder how that happened.

Ashley had been raised by atheistic scientists who had an answer for all of her questions – up until she had become a teenager. Then she would ask questions they could not answer, like from the Big Bang Theory: How could something come from nothing?

She fought with her parents as they tried to convince her, which created distance between them. Their theories did not make sense to her, so she began a spiritual quest to fill the small void she felt in her chest. Searching the book store, she bought books on Druids, Wicca, Kabbalah, Astrology, New Ageism, Becoming a Shaman, Crystals, Tarot, Mystic Wisdom, Buddhism and many others. Over time she read them all, but each time something still felt missing.

At college she ended up on a dorm floor with a bunch of Christians, some who were bicyclers, like her. She was uncomfortable talking to them about her lack of spiritual upbringing, even though a few were interested in her story. Sometimes she got really frustrated with them because there were days when all they talked about was Jesus. If he is so great, why doesn’t everyone follow him?

One morning, after an extremely difficult exam, she awoke with a headache. She decided to skip class and stay in bed. Waving goodbye to her roommate, who would be gone for several hours, she rolled back toward the wall and closed her eyes.

As she lay in a half-dream state, the face of Jesus, sheathed in luminescence, floated before her and said, “You are my child. I formed you in the womb and know every bit of you. You are well loved.”

Ashley woke up. Her head felt groggy, so she sat up, shook it, rubbed her eyes and wrapped her arms around herself. Did that really just happen? Did Jesus just talk to me? That’s weird, my headache is gone already.

Since she was not sure if she had just had a dream, or if it was indeed a vision, she got up, walked over to her roommate’s desk and borrowed her bible. She had heard the girls talking about the New Testament, so she opened up to Matthew and began to read. The words rang of truth and she began to feel the hole fill.