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Posts Tagged ‘God’

 

English: Hank Hanegraaff in St. Louis, Mo., Au...

English: Hank Hanegraaff in St. Louis, Mo., August 30, 2007 (Tim Seidenstricker photo) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Book Review: The Prayer of Jesus by Hank Hanegraaff

 

Traci L. Kenworth

 

 

 

Foreword by Lee Strobel        2001    Word Publishing, a unit of Thomas Nelson

 

Publishers

 

Secrets to real intimacy with God

 

 

 

Prayers can be powerful tools in our lives. For me, reading a book about making your prayer life better makes sense. It helps to bring things down to the basics. Having a close relationship with my Savior is something I strive to do. This book breaks down Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and shows why each line is important. I believe keeping an open channel is everything in how we communicate with God. It’s so nice to talk to Him and relate on a personal level.

 

The secret to prayer is secret prayer the author suggests. As in one-on-one, no frills, no need for public approval. It’s all about just talking, expressing ours needs, and most important of all, listening. Something we all maybe need to do more of. If we hope to establish good relationships in our lives, it helps to start with a solid one with our Creator. I think it defines all others. We learn to treat people as we’d like to be treated as God intended for us to treat them. Respectfully. Compassionately. Lovingly. And who doesn’t need more of that in their lives? When we approach our companions in a non-judgmental way, break-throughs occur in

 

our lives.

 

So if you’re looking for a way to enhance your day-to-day, I suggest trying this book.

 

 

 

 

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Summer scenery from Mt Hotham, Victoria, Australia

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Keeping the Faith

Traci Kenworth

 

Recently, I was reminded about the faith it takes to step out into the world and show ourselves for who we are. Where does it come from? What does it take to get us there? I believe that everyone of us possesses a God-given talent. Whether stacking cheerios in a way that they don’t fall to acting onstage to having enough belief in ourselves to come forward and shout, “Here I am world, do your worst.”

It’s hard to take that first leap, for sure. Are we good enough? Will others appreciate our attempts, or look upon us with disdain? But somehow, someway, something inspires us to get out there and try. Can we fail? Certainly. However, what if you don’t? It’s grit and determination that make us put ourselves out there. The fire that keeps the dreams inside us ignited. We can have them broken down, changed even, yet the kernel of talent we’re meant to have and share with the world will stay with us and expand our horizons.

Don’t be afraid to show who you are. Your talent is unique, individual. No two of us share the same level or abundance. I do know that it becomes a waste though if you don’t attempt to write that first story, step onto that stage, pick up that guitar. If you truly want something, go for it. This is your dream, your time. Reach down inside yourself and find the confidence to bring it to the surface.

Imagine if Einstein hadn’t explored his theory. Cars had never been built, phones used? Yes, writing is a lot different than these inventions but the underlying principle is the same. Somewhere someone picks up a book to read. It could be yours. For one shining moment, you can entertain, touch someone’s life, make their world better. Isn’t that worth all the hours of frustration, worry, and scrambling to pull plotlines together?

So how do you know you’re ready to send out your work? At some point, you have to have enough confidence in what you’ve written to do so. When you can look at your writing and see a growth, when that shy bird is ready to fly again, it’s time. It takes faith to walk across a runway, to give a speech, to grasp another’s hand in a future endeavor. Don’t let fear hold you back. Faith can indeed move mountains. Find it in yourself and you will rise above the clouds.

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Acer Glade Westonbirt 2004. The acers in 2004 ...

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Where I’m At

Traci Kenworth

 

I finished rewriting SH finally, now I’m double-checking words, grammar, and typos. Even with Spell & Grammar on Word, sometimes things are wrong and there’s no reason not to do a hands-on check. Besides which, an agent will thank you for paying attention to details and such. I should have this all ready to go out by the middle of next week. Still have to tweak synopsis, re-check query, and all that good stuff.

I am so, so, so happy to be at the subbing stage. I’ve done everything I possibly could to make this as good as I can. I want to, hopefully, do things right. I’ve been keeping my eyes on agents thanks to the help of twitter and their blogs, and hope I’ve gleaned the right facts & personality for each. Yes, personalization on a query is very important. It is your introduction to an agent, why not make it as friendly as a handshake?

Next up, is hoping and praying the agents on my list are still accepting submission during this Thanksgiving to New Years’ time when some close. So, it’s possible I won’t be able to do so until after January. What’s up next? The all-important follow-up book. Actually, I have one waiting in the wings but I don’t want to hurry with that one until SH takes flight. I’ve decided to write a third book in the meantime. It’s a work-in-progress, tentatively titled The Angel.

I don’t like to give out too much information about it at first, not only because the book changes as it “grows,” but I find it stifles my creativity when I talk too much about it. When it’s finished, that’s a different deal. Mostly because it’s time to get an agent/editor interested and if you “don’t” talk about it, you’re in trouble and wasting your and their time.

So, yeah, it’s time to get out there, trek through the forest, and pray to God to find my way out again, an agented writer. What are some of your secrets to getting ready to publish? Any advice on the sub process? I wish you all luck on getting your books ready for the same.

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Cover of "Heaven's Wager (Martyr's Song, ...

Cover of Heaven's Wager (Martyr's Song, Book 1)

Book Reviews

Heaven’s Wager by Ted Dekker

Traci Kenworth

 

Heaven’s Wager is a supernatural horror set in modern times about a man who has lost his way in life and is about to be shaken to the very core of his existence to find his way back back to humanity. When the story starts out Kent Anthony has just created a program that will revolutionize the banking world and is about to come into millions of dollars. Unfortunately, he’s compromised a lot of things along the way: including his morals and is about to pay big time.

First, his wife dies on the eve of the speech that would have propelled him to the top of the business world, days later his son dies in a tragic accident. At the same time, individuals at the bank rise up and knock him out of credit for his invention of the program. Reeling, Kent plots revenge and finds it by means of a security code he implanted into the system before things went to hell. He begins to plan the perfect crime.

What he doesn’t plan on is: a mother-in-law who doesn’t give up on praying for his soul, an old flame, and God.

As I read Heaven’s Wager, I have to say, I had a hard time getting through the book as Kent is a very hard character to find any sympathy for, despite the tragedy around him. I understand that Dekker had to make him as morally corrupt as possible, but there has to be something about a protagonist to make us want to read on and there just wasn’t here. I did find redeemable qualities about him at the end but by then, it was too late to identify the character with Kent Anthony at all.

I had hoped to find so much more with this story. The mother-in-law was very likeable and admirable in her strength. Likewise the old flame. But I felt the love affair was too soon after his first wife’s death.

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Simply Flowers

Image by cobalt123 via Flickr

Researching Agents

Traci Kenworth

 

It has been two weeks of research, research, into agents I’d previously had in mind to update information about them, to make sure I have their addresses, emails, names etc. right. This is a very important step as I don’t want to end up with an agent I’m not compatible with, who doesn’t handle my genre, or someone whose left the business altogether.

I’ve weeded out some because of the genre I’m writing in: YA Supernatural Horror. Others because of warnings under Absolute Water Cooler, or predators and editors. It pays to do your homework. You don’t want to end up regretting your decision. Remember, though, there are some fabulous agents out there who want to do their best to work with you and find your book its home.

I think there’s probably a lot of pressure on both the writer’s and agent’s side when it comes to the deal, but in the end, with God’s grace, it’ll work out.

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Footstep

Image by Images by John 'K' via Flickr

Life is Fragile Handle with Prayer

Traci Kenworth

 

Prayers are very important to me. They’re a lifeline in times of despair. I realize not everyone shares my outlook or beliefs, sometimes this blog is written just to remind me of what’s in my heart. I went to a Century Village church growing up. I’m talking what looked like the Little House on the Prairie version. I used to light the candles each Sunday up front along with a friend of mine. We had basement Sunday school sessions.

On Wednesdays, I attended piano/choir lessons.

Even when I went my way after high school, church was a big part of my life. It was probably my saving grace through my dark days. A time when I thought I lost everything. But God is good and he allows us to find our way home to him. My life isn’t perfect, but it’s blessed. I wake every day, ready to start the day, because of the strength he gives me, because of the hope and determination he extends.

There’s nothing I like better than to study The Bible, to learn from it. It helps me grow, chases the blues away, and gives me a hug I sometimes desperately need. Prayers, in particular, have been a real treasure passed down through the generations of my family. It’s always the first thing we do before meal times, a gathering to see loved ones off, and any other time we just feel that extra need. There’s such an outpouring of strength in a group like that.

Not that it can’t be effective done individually, because I can tell you most of the gut-wrenching prayers in my life have been done between me and Jesus. In the times I have felt my most heart-ache, he has answered with comfort. He has lifted my face many times when I thought I couldn’t bear to go on. So, yeah, I love the saying, “Life is Fragile, Handle with Prayer.” It makes sense to me, it reminds me of someone who walks alongside me, undemanding, ready to lift me up and carry me if need be.

 

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How to Breathe Life into Your Characters

Part 1: What is in a Name?

Traci Kenworth

 

How do you go about naming your characters? Do you just close your eyes, dip

your finger onto the page, and choose that one? Or do you meticulously search for one? In any case, the one you end up is going to say a lot about your character. It’s instantly going to give us an image of who he/she is. The type of profession we see them in. Family person or single? And more come to mind.

Take Harry for instance. If we look into the meanings of baby names it means, “Army Ruler.” But when I think of the name Harry, I don’t see that. I see an average Joe, just trying to get along. A family man who brings home the bread. Solid. Dependable. Someone who makes a good Grandpa or friend. Harry’s got a lot going for him, if you want his type of character in your story. But if you want, say a British character, or a villain, his name wouldn’t do at all.

All right, let’s try: Caydan. His name means, “Fighter.” And he sounds like a hero, tough as nails, someone who will go the extra mile. Someone devoted, tough when called for, and a popular guy. Friends growing out of his ears and the like. Oh, and his name is American. So that leaves out a foreign tribute. He definitely makes Harry come across as a bit boring, a bit set in his way. Caydan promises danger, romance, intrigue.

Gabriel means, “God is my strength.” This name evokes heavenly references, of course, but it was one of the most popular old-fashioned baby names. To me, a Gabriel sounds like he would be Lord of the castle, a gentleman of means. He also sounds a bit edgy, on the outskirts of what society might find as the norm. Compared to Caydan and Harry, Gabriel is unique. He could be the hero or the villain of the piece. He could even be a “she.”

Which brings us to the heroine names. Let’s start with: Abedabun is Cheyenne for Sight of the Day. Her name could encompass many different character traits. She is the maiden that saves the village, a Present-Day champion of Native American values. We have loads of possibilities with this one. She can be anything and everyone. A secret agent perhaps? A mother defending her children? A heroine who has been framed for a crime she didn’t commit?

Whereas Abigail is stoic, someone certain in the path they choose. She is old-fashioned, perhaps a bit wealthy, upper-crust. One doesn’t see Abigail fighting off alligators, running from terrorists, or blazing a path of glory. But she could. Twisting the fate/name of a character broadens their horizons and ours. It calls for us to stretch as writers. And that alone could make planting the seed of her name worth it.

Queeny. Wife. Grandmother. Someone trying to break out of the mold. She wishes for so much more out of life than what has befallen her. She strives to make a better live for her children even in the face of danger. She is courageous, a bit rebellious, freedom-loving. You could do so many fascinating things with this character. She has no boundaries, no limits.

And isn’t that what it’s all about? Picking names that resonate with our ideas of the character? We can take Harry and Abigail together and make them uproot from our perceptions. We can make them heroes or villains, a force to be reckoned with, or a prop for laughs. They can be the loyal friends of our hero/heroine, or monsters waiting to be noticed. The truth is, any name can become unique because it’s how we see it, what our imagination pulls forth. So the next time you need a name for a character, stroll through the possibilities of baby names, their meanings, their origination, hidden perks that can bring them to life.

And paint that picture of them. Let them soar into creation, designed to be all that they can be, with just a whisper of a name. That’s the first test of breathing life into your characters…

 

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