Sunday, December 30, 2012

I Know what this New Year will bring!

Jean's first book, second edition

I know what this New Year will bring.
  • There will be new experiences to fit into old categories. 
  • There will be unexpected opportunities to weigh and, perhaps, to grasp. 
  • There will be disappointments, insights, understandings, and misunderstandings. 
  • There will be health changes, for better or for worse. 
  • There will be marriages in the New Year. There will be births. 
  • There will be plans to visit exciting places. 
  • There will be new books to read, new recipes to try, and new plantings for the garden. 
  • There will be new people to meet. 
  • There will be old friendships treasured in new ways. 
  • There will be surprises. 
  • There will be separations and estrangements, to take hold or to heal. 
  • There will be losses, and there will be gains. 
  • There will be new stories and songs composed and shared. 
  • There will be secrets. There will be dangers. 
  • There will be hard sacrifices that face us. 
  • There will be good news and there will be bad news (per A Tale of Two Cities).
What significant or deeply meaningful experiences will be ours in the New Year? Will we be tired of the year before the Ides of March or April 15? What will we work to make happen through the time and opportunity given to us?

Given the things we know, there is anticipation that comes with every New Year's Eve and the changing of the clock to 12:01 a.m. Excitement resides in a sense of a fresh start. Its heartbeat is the promise of good as-yet-unknown events. We await pending hopes to form anew, to rearrange themselves, or for us to rearrange, to build, and to take forward. We want to use what is in our hands for creativity and completion.    
     That is to say that the underlying mysteries of the New Year dwell in the details of the specific and fresh hows, whens, whats, whos, and whys of your story and mine. Neither you nor I can give those kinds of details about what our respective and highly personal New Year days will promise or bring to us. We know there will be new days, but what, exactly, will they be? What meaning might they hold for us? How few or many might they be?
     We take with us, into the New Year, some "Why?!" questions that continue to baffle or to plague us. 

The meaning in the New Year resides in the mysteries of love, respect, and people. The numberless and often unspoken desires and longings, hopes for change, and the other parts that affect our lives through others and the parts of our lives that can affect them.  
     For example, 18 years ago on New Year's Eve I had no way of knowing that a publisher would accept my memoir, in finished manuscript* form. And in the UK, something completely unforeseen. That is one personal example of work, study, and input from others, for feedback, finally  reaching an important stage of completion. Can't that happen again for me and again for you? Are we still persevering in the New Year? 
     It is said that the future is unknown. Yet, when we set goals or make resolutions for a New year, we are trying to carve out a promising, better year than we experienced in the previous year. And, we already see the ability to identify the kinds of things we will experience in detail, more than I have given already.

Can't it also be said, "God is beyond Time, yet, he is the God of the new"? "Behold," he has said, "I am making all things new" (Revelation 21.5). God's plan was, is, and will be realized. Regardless. Along with the mystery, the surprises, the hopes and the that assurance. It is God, who is Timeless, assuring us by his unchanging Word that he was, is, and will be with us in our times, our calendar days down to each milli-second. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whatever we may think of ourselves..too high or too low...All-powerful God, the Creator who is Love, is near. Our challenge is to stay close to him due to our adoration and need.  

God is for us. Are we telling, through our writing, that every person is loved by God ad that his justice is for us, if we trust him. We are called to be children of God.That, dear friends, attends the first and every step forward in the New Year, starting now. "Happy New Year!"

God said, “Behold, I make (am making) all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.” I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water" Revelation 21.5,6.

*Not All Roads Lead Home under pen name, Jane Bullard, Highland Books LTD, UK, 1996.
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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Your Personal Financial Cliff?

Meeting Dave Ramsey
Meeting Dave Ramsey (Photo credit: iatraveler)
In an on-line review of Dave Ramsey's financial freedom book, The Total Money Makeover, reviewer T. Scarillo said it's an especially fitting read if you're "in a financial hole." Given events of the past few years of bankruptcies, bailouts, and mortgage failures, it's clear from the news that many Americans have been drawn to or thrown into their personal financial hole nightmare. 
     The U.S. now faces, it is claimed, "falling off a financial cliff," due to debts climbing second-by-second, now up to 13 Trillion dollars. 
            There is a television show whose name I've forgotten whereby people are helped to face their personal debts with help. No one likes the idea of falling off a financial cliff or into a financial hole of debt. In fact, watching that show a few times, I realized that many people deeply in debt have no idea how much they owe, and are usually shocked to find out. Yet, they tried to ignore the signs of the problem. It felt less threatening not to know the exact figures. Yet, eventually the harsh numbers relating to debt led to borrowing from family, not repaying, and having more problems pile up and triple, or worse.  
       With many prophecies of national debt just emerging a couple of years ago, at Christmas I gave a copy of Dave Ramsey's Makeover book to every person in my immediate family after hearing good comments about it. One of the men in our family read the entire book during his visit here for Christmas. Whether from a recliner in front of a football game on TV or a sofa in the living room, or wherever... he read until he finished it.
     I never dreamed that within a year the advice in that book would help many of us, including young, college-age readers. Dave even has a financial practice game for children. Balancing a budget has always challenged me, so I get it. The kids' game might be a good place for many of us to begin learning Dave's principles, which have worked to help many people get out of debt, completely.
     The air is fresh up out of any financial hole and into the light!
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Short Postscript about Digital

Hildegard reading and writing
We owe early writers and readers a lot! The drawing represents "Hildegard reading and writing" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hi, friends! 

P. S. for previous my last post about digital (link): 

  Working today, I realize how important it is to develop more, effective reasons and ways to take part in web (internet) networks. 
   My year's-end brain is getting rustier by day and night. After polishing and renewal for it, for 2013, I hope to expand on the important, nay, critical role that web networking plays for writers. 

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Intentional Notes about Digital and Your Reading-Writing Interests

christmas paint
Christmas paint (Photo credit: cassie_bedfordgolf)
You might be interested in reading a repeat article about our increasingly digital reading, on another of my most-read blogs. 
    Is the theme of the personal connections between people strongly on your mind these days? It is on my mind a lot.
     I invite you to connect here. Join this blog (top right column) for automatic blog post delivery...if you have not done so already. Send questions, topics you want to see, and other comments anytime.    

Newsweek sent a notice to me about their switch to digital magazine formatting and delivery to subscribers. I have mixed feelings about whether to continue my subscription. On one hand, I find an occasional article that meets my news or commentary interests, whether or not I agree with the writers' perspectives. On the other hand, I am of a newspaper delivery generation used to reading on paper. 
     During this season, I wish you well in your Christian reflections or post-Hanukkah memories, as everyone also looks forward to a new year. 
Whatever you are writing now, here is a thought for you, whether for digital or other use. Your local library is a place where you might attend or propose a book club for books in your favorite category/genre. The central library in my county has an adult book club that will meet this Thursday at noon to discuss P. D. James' Death Comes to Pemberley.  

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Write about Mental Health and Guns

Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut
Official seal of Newtown, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Jean Purcell

When I began this posting, it was the Sunday after the Friday tragedies in Sandy Hook Elementary of Newtown, Connecticut. The principal, school counselor, four teachers, and 20 six- and seven-year-olds in the school...killed by a 20-year-old. 
    In church this Sunday, we prayed for them and for the rapid response people who tried to help them and who did save others who might have been shot if they had not arrived when they did, at the school set in a quiet part of a small town in beautiful Connecticut. 
    We are thankful that we can turn to God, the Creator of all that is good, who is ready to hear our cries of distress over tragedies and able to help. We are thankful that He holds onto the suffering when horror targets little ones and the adults who have devoted themselves to teach and to protect them during school. We pray for their sweet souls and for their parents,siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, doctors, pets, yes, even pets. The list goes on.  
    I am thankful that God is just. He will do as promised, to avenge, in His way, every evil of this world, every evil since the beginning.
   Someone grappling years ago with another tragedy that hit a co-worker's family agonized over the realities of evil and reached a point of realizing that evil does get into people. Sometimes such realization of evil is the first step to deal with its outcomes.
     Evil, in that situation, got into a father and husband's mind and emotions so firmly that he killed his family rather than have mother and children together after a divorce. Nothing good was accomplished, no resolutions were reached. Jealousy, bitterness, and selfishness fed each other and grew into murder. 

This is a time for writers who focus on gun laws that allow assault weapons and rapid-fire firearms to work harder to effect change. The same goes for writers about mental health issues. It is time to call upon others, including lawyers and jurists, to help the mental health profession find ways to get around privacy laws and gun laws, if they are the main hindrances to stopping anything that enables killers. Lawyers, jurists, and law-makers must find ways to relieve parents of responsibility for managing out of control teens and live-in adult children so that they can get help or be isolated where they cannot threaten or harm others. 
     If you are a writer interested in these matters, there is a great need for writers to learn more and to write about possible solutions, or at least possible aids. You can do this as a citizen, not necessarily someone in law enforcement or psychiatry/psychology/counseling professions. Research, study, write...and continue to pray.  

The President spoke this evening to the mourning and shocked community of Newtown, in the high school that 20 children might have attended later on, if not in the first classrooms that day. Friday. The President is calling for action, as yet undetermined, to address issues of legal ownership of certain kinds of guns, and to address mental health needs. Who could not support him in those efforts in light of what has happened, again?
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