Thursday, September 30, 2004

Light of Eidon - a good read

I'm almost finished Light of Eidon by Karen Hancock. Great read for anyone who likes fantasy. I'd like to just curl up by the fireplace after supper tonight and finish it off, but my husband has booked us for two visits tonight, so I may be burning the midnight oil instead. I have a stack of books on my table by 'my chair' in our living room. My chair - which I actually share with our six-toed callico cat named Moxi - is a small recliner right by the fireplace. I put a small table/bookcase there so I could line up all my 'next reads' but the bookcase isn't big enough so the books are stacked on top! Maybe I should slow down and stop buying/borrowing books for a while. :)

My talk at the Sonrise Church went well last night, and I even sold a few books. I sold a few at the Inscribe writers' conference too, and three more here at the shop this month, (I'm at work right now) so I'll be able to make a nice deposit into my book account. I'm saving up to do a second edition of The Spur.

Today feels like winter is trying to get through the cracks. The wind is whipping the leaves off the trees. It will be mostly gray on the trail when I ride on Tuesday, I'm sure. I meant to take my camera last week and forgot it. Too bad because it was a beautiful day - calm and golden with sun and flashes of falling leaves. We rode on the ridge above the lake, then through the woods for about four miles in a loop back to the Edwards' farm. I am so thankful to them and to the Lord for giving me these wonderful days to ride. I hope we have a few more before the snow comes. Brrrr - don't like to think about that yet!
blessings to you all. :)M




Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Woman Who Learned What Was Needed

Hello folks. This is the basis for a talk I'm giving tonight at a Christian Reformed Church in my community. Please pray for the women who will be there.

How many times this week has someone asked, "How are you?" How many times have you answered, "Fine, but busy." It has become my standard answer these days and sometimes that bothers me.
There’s a familiar story in the Bible that many point to when we talk about the hazards of being too busy. It takes place at the height of Jesus’ ministry on earth. He was travelling about the country with an entourage – twelve disciples and a crowd of hangers-on. He often stopped in a place called Bethany, where two sisters opened their home to him and made him welcome. It’s in the home of Mary and Martha that this scene occurs.
No doubt the house was packed. Martha had been working hard to make sure everyone was well taken care of. But Mary was just sitting at the feet of the Lord. Martha complained. Jesus rebuked her. "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed." (Luke 10:41)
Now it’s at this point that most people jump in and say that Martha was too busy, that she should have been doing what Mary did. I’ve always thought that was a bit unfair. Someone had to wash all those dusty feet as they came in the door. Someone had to prepare all those meals and find a place for everyone to rest. Why did Jesus rebuke Martha for doing what she was good at and what needed to be done?
We see Martha again in the book of John, chapters 11 and 12. We see her accusing Jesus of not being there when she needed him, then we see her opening her home to him again, and throwing a party for him. In the last scene, there are only two words that describe her – "Martha served ..." (John 12:2). Yet no words of accusation come from her lips, and there is no rebuke this time. It makes me think Martha had learned something, something vital.
I think Martha learned that what she was doing with her hands was not nearly as important as what she was doing with her heart and her mind. It wasn’t her busyness that was the problem. It was her attitude toward her service and toward Jesus himself. By chapter twelve, it would appear she’d got it right. She served, remaining in the background, and she made way for her sister to do what she was meant to do, in anointing their Lord. She made way for the Son of God to be glorified, not only in her home, but in her heart.
Sometimes we allow our busy schedules to rule our lives. Sometimes we need to stop and take time to enjoy our families, our friends, our God. But more often, we need to shift our perspective within that busy schedule. We need to focus on Jesus, to make sure, no matter what our hands are doing, our hearts are glorifying Him.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Four Day Marathon

I think I'm still in recuperating mode after my four day marathon, but am starting to feel like I have my feet under me again. The meetings in Calgary went well. I'm the sole - perhaps token? - woman on the Western Region Council, but I enjoy the spark of the intellects and theologians at the table. Our association's president was there too, a man I admire and respect a great deal. It's always a pleasure to be in his presence.
The writers' conference also went well. I even sold a few books. :) Our main speaker, Deborah Gyapong, from Ottawa, did an excellent job and the workshops seemed to be well received. The closing session was done by Sigmund Brouwer and I was escpecially challenged by his message, which was, essentially, forget about being a Christian writer, just learn the craft and write as well as you possibly can. Sigmund signed a copy of his latest book for me, The Last Disciple, and his inscription choked me up a bit. We've known one another for about ten years and he's become a friend I value, not just because he's a great writer but because he's also honest, down-to-earth and a great encouragement to me.
I have today to breath easy, then I'm off to speak at a women's event Wednesday. Other speaking engagements coming down the pipe too, so it's never a dull moment.
:) blessings on all your endeavours. M



Friday, September 24, 2004

Four Day Marathon

Just got home from two long days of meetings with our Association's Western Region Council. It was a whole new group except for myself and two others, so the meetins were long but good. I arrived home at about 6:00 p.m., just in time to wave goodbye to my husband as he went off to visit a man in a nearby prison. At 7:00 I had to be at a baby shower at our church, then back home to do laundry and pack again for today. I leave in about half an hour for our two day writers' conference. Since I'm the president there's a bit of stress involved, but I think all the ducks are in a row, so I'm not feeling too pressured.
Please pray for me and the speakers and those attending, that God will speak and guide and direct.
I'm off and running .... :)M

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Lines In My Head

Sometimes I have a line in my head that just won't go away until I do something with it - that is, put it into a story, or a poem or something in black and white. It happened this morning as I was driving around town looking for more places to drop off the CrossWalk newsletter. I was driving down one of the main streets that's lined with good sized Elm trees. (Yes, Becca, we do have Elm trees in Alberta! :)
Many of them are coated in gold now and even though it's kind of a dreary grey morning, they look beautiful. The line popped into my head and now won't leave. So I'll have to do something with it at some point today.

I notice my posts have so far gone unnoticed so I guess I'll have to start spreading the word if I want this to be a worthwhile thing. I could just continue to write into a vaccuum, but I would like some feedback and maybe some dialogue to go on now and then. And I don't want Becca to get tossed around in the bag all by herself! :)

I picked up an old stand-by yesterday. It's a journal my daughter bought me for Christmas a few years ago - to go with the devotional My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I've read that book about 4 times now and Chambers hits me between the eyes every time. I've written in the journal each time I've read the book, and it's interesting to see the different perspectives, different thoughts, even some noticable growth over the years. Most journals of that type don't leave a lot of room to write, but this one has big pages so I should be able to get a couple more years out of it if I keep writing tiny. :) Yesterday's thought was about Satan's intention in tempting us. It isn't just to make us sin, it isn't just to cause havoc, it's to wipe out God's plans to bring Glory to Himself. Puts a whole new weight on why I need to resist. There's too much at stake to play around.

Well, I am at work, so I guess I'd better find something to do here. I probably won't post on Sunday, unless something hits me and just won't let go!

Blessings on your weekend. :)M


Friday, September 17, 2004

Lines in the Sand

Check out this article at www.christianity.ca
Click on http://www.christianity.ca/faith/theology/2004/09.001.html

Rejection

Rejection makes my heart sink. It seemed to pile up a bit yesterday. I distribute a Christian newsletter every month, which carries my column, The Spur. The publisher sends me a bundle and I take them around to medical clinics, hairdressers etc. - anywhere people are sitting and waiting and might have a few minutes to read. I went into a new shop yesterday and the woman refused to let me leave them. Then I went into a dentist's office where I've been dropping them off for the past year, and one of the secretaries came out after me to tell me they no longer want them left there. Sigh. I smiled on the outside, but it left me with a sad heart.
Then I came home from work yesterday to find a couple of critiques on part of my manuscript. They were good critiques but they weren't very complimentary. So it's back to the drawing board.
At least with the ms. I can work on it and improve it. But how do you get people to at least consider Christianity? It seems the doors slam before there is a chance to hear.
The good news is that I know God can break through any barrier. He certainly did it with me. I was a door slammer once. So I guess I'll just pray for those two ladies who don't want to hear. Who knows what God might do?
Have a great day. :)M

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Writers of Faith

Hi - if you are a Christian and love to write fiction, check out this blog - www.faithinfiction.blogspot.com
:)M

At Work

It's one p.m in the afternoon here and I'm at 'work.' I qualified that word because so far it hasn't been - no customers yet. Which means I've been able to work on my novel. (I have the best bosses in the universe!) I put the last chapter together this morning and it feels good to know that much is completed, though there is still a LOT of work to do on the book as a whole, so I'm not celebrating yet. In fact, I think I'll hold off any kind of celebration until I have a signed contract for this one. This is the fifth - or is it sixth? - novel I've started. Four are now complete in rough drafts. I'm hoping this one will make it into print. Then I'd like to try marketing two others that are fantasy books. Fantasy is a hard sell in the CBA, but the first book was almost purchased several years ago so I think I'll try again.
I'm sitting in the back room of the shop - it's a small craft shop called the Walrus and Carpenter. Ten points if you know where that name comes from! The building is almost one hundred years old and on days like this it feels like it. The cold creeps in between all the loose boards and when the sun is shut out by low clouds it seems quite dingy and grey in here. I spent 12 years in the far north (Dawson City Yukon) so I have a thing about light. I need it or I'm in danger of thinking and doing things for which I cannot be held responsible. :) So I have every single light on in the building right now, tho it's the middle of the day.
I love being able to just flick a switch and have the lights come on. We lived in a log cabin with no electricity up north, so our only source of light was kerosene lanterns and one much prized propane light that I used for reading and writing. Anyone out there ever cooked by flashlight! It's a challenge! But hey, I'm glad we did it - the memories of that time are all bright, filled with good friends and much laughter.
Just had an inspiration. So I'm going back to my novel now. Toodlie do. :)M



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Spur

Hi folks - Since it's Wednesday, I'll post my weekly column, The Spur. Let me know what you think. :)M

The Spur for Sept. 15, 2004

Finding Myself at the Top of the Ladder.
By Marcia Lee Laycock

"Do you know where I am?"
"Where am I going now?"
I’ve been hearing these similar questions lately, asked with the same heart-wrenching look of confusion and a trace of fear. I’ve seen and heard people say these things before. I’ve seen them enter into the disturbing realm of dementia and thought, how sad when the elderly so often seem to revert to a child-like dependence.
Lately it’s been a bit more close to home. One of the people asking me these kinds of questions is my own mother. It’s hard and it leaves you with a gnawing sense of helplessness that makes you want to scream or weep. Sometimes, paradoxically, it makes you want to laugh.
I have reached that stage of life where those who have always been the anchors are now in need of someone to hold onto and I am suddenly in confusion too. This is a new place for me, one I’m not sure I’m ready for, because, truth be told, there are times when I’m not sure I know where I am or where I am going. I feel inadequate to answer those questions.
I am reminded of a poem by Luci Shaw that expresses this feeling so eloquently:
"... There is no one above you
to compass the wideness of space. You
are the final clasp that buckles
earth to heaven. Somehow, you
must hold up the ladder, heavy with life."
(from When Your Last Parent Dies; Writing the River by Luci Shaw)
Suddenly finding yourself at the top of the ladder of life can be terrifying. But there is, after all, someone to hold onto. We don’t have to hold up the ladder all by ourselves. And when we are asked those disturbing questions, we can answer with assurance and comfort. We can tell them it’s okay, because there is someone who knows where we all are and someone who knows were we all are going.
There’s an old hymn that says it well – "Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms, leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms." The arms of Jesus are waiting to hold us and waiting to point the way. The writer of Proverbs exhorts us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight" (Prov.3:5,6).
There is another very comforting thought about being at the top of this "ladder, heavy with life." The next step is into the arms of Jesus.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Just playing with this to see how it works. This is the cover of my devotional, self-published in 2002.:)M Posted by Hello

First Post

Hi everyone. This is my first post on my first blog. I'm not sure exactly what I'll be posting here, but probably a mixture of mundane day to day things, odd thoughts and perhaps even an epiphany or two.

Just got home from my weekly horseback ride. I go out to a friend's farm each Tuesday and we saddle up for a couple of hours. Today was a bit short because I was late getting there and we both had things to get home to. It was a lovely ride, tho' - the trees here in central Alberta are just beginning to turn yellow and gold. We rode mostly on trails through the bush so it was refreshing, with that tingle of early morning fall, the grasses still wet and poplar leaves dripping with a heavy dew. We saw a bluebird today - a good sign that the strategies to bring them back to this area are working. No cougar tracks, thank goodness! Two foals have been killed in that area in the past month.

I'm off to have lunch now with a friend who just returned from her nephew's funeral. He was only 21, and his wife is expecting their second child. Such a shock and so sad.

Hope you join me here often. I'll try to post something each day.

Cheerio! Marci