Thursday, January 31, 2008

Memory of Peace

Well, last night I lay in bed and I got into a whining...which is what i often do when I look around the house and see what needs fixing.

I simply could not see a way out of this house. As the saying goes, "Ain't nothing wrong here that a whole lotta money can't fix." And I kept hoping Wind Follower would bring me a movie deal...or that some gorgeous rich guy would tell me, "Carole, come and I'll take you away for all this."

So there I was winding up and pretty much preparing myself to blast my hubby with my despair about his not being rich when suddenly..... I MEAN Suddenly... I felt this supernatural peace and assurance that God was in charge and all was well. I wish I could describe the feeling. So, awed by this feeling of being taken care of, I fell into praise mode and thanked and blessed God and apologized for my sinful murmuring. I realized in a wonderful moment that God's power works best in joy and praise and if I was being negative and building a negative future in my own mind, I wasn't cooperating and co-laboring with God in building my better future. So I was all peaceful and happy. Then I fell peacefully to sleep.

Do I even need to tell you that when I woke up the peace was gone and I am now stuck with the responsibility of remembering that wonderful mountaintop experience? I have to commit to that joy and truth today....even if I don't really feel it right now. God is good. I have to obey the joy.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008 Thy Word....

Ah, my friends! The brave and unusual and hopeful things we do when we feel God has told us to do them!

I wrote my novel, Wind Follower, a Christian multicultural fantasy
, the way I wrote it because I felt God wanted me to write it that way: honestly, frankly...with the sex scenes, with the racial comments, with Bible-believing sincerity, honoring the Bible, being very liberal in some respects and being very conservative with others. A book designed to be honest even if it p*ssed folks off. Because the liberal world isn't used to hearing Bible-believing Christians ...and the Conservative Christian world doesn't like talking about race...or even sexual issues.

Then I wrote my Bible study book. Actually, it's a How-to Bible Study Bible Study book.

Seeds of Bible Study is a book on how to study the Bible. It is written by a writer and by a lover of books. But it is really a book by a normal person written to normal people. It uses basic common sense and reading comprehension rules to help people through pitfalls of Biblical interpretation. The writer loves her Bible and wants others to love it too.

Now I'm writing Inheritance...a story about religious folks ...and also about sexual issues. A romance with two unlikely main characters: a 20-something bi-racial Chinese young man...and a 40-something Jamaican-American woman. I love it. Will see what this bit of bravery brings to me. Many Christians don't like reading fiction about sex. But mercifully many do. Will Christians accept a story about sex and about race. Will see. But God made me brave. And if he tells me to do matter how odd it seems, at His Word I will obey.

Tomorrow I am off to the old folks' home to talk to them about writing. I'm trusting they will bless my little works. Praise ye the Lord.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Goodness of the Lord

This morning while I was doing devotionals with my beloved, the holy spirit prompted me to consider and meditate on the word "good" and "goodness."

Very often, the word "goodness" or "good" is used about God's care and attitude about people in this PRESENT world. It often deals with health, prosperity, and physical things.

A few of them are:
"I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

"Taste and see that the Lord is good."

"Goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life."

"It's the goodness of God that causes men to repent."

But pick up your concordance and do the search for yourself. Not that the Bible doesn't talk about God's goodness in the afterlife...but so often it's connected to things He does for us in the land of the living.

It certainly makes me believe that wants us to be truly abundant, living an abundant life opposed to the culture of "suffering is good for you" and this is a "thorn in the flesh."

Oh that we could believe in the love He has for us!

I also should make us think about how we bring people to Christ. By telling them about their sin? No. By showing them the power of Christ in us to heal the sick, raise the dead, deliver the oppressed, cleanse the lepers, help the poor prosper.


Friday, January 25, 2008

The power to choose to believe the positive

Yesterday I was on the verge of a panic. I was waiting to hear some news from a friend. And my imagination was taking me over. (Okay, I'll be the first one to admit that my imagination at times needs a heavy dose of positivity.) So there I was believing the worst and imagining my friend didn't like me.

Suddenly I heard the still small voice in my spirit: "Why are you assuming you aren't liked? Why are you assuming your friend is angry with you? Why don't you try to believe that you are loved?"

It seemed like such a strange simply stop my mind in its negative track and assume the best.

But I forced myself -- only half-believing-- to do so. I felt good but I still didn't feel too great because I kept thinking that I was just kinda kidding myself, that my friend was going to get back to me with an angry comment.

Imagine my surprise when he did not. Imagine how happy I felt when I realized I was truly liked and loved by my friend. (Don't worry, this isn't an adulterous situation so those of you with wild imaginations can tone done. It's just a good male friend.)

Anyway, I've learned a valuable lesson about assuming the best. Or at least CHOOSING to assume the best. Especially when the worst hasn't happened yet. -

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are Christians really Christians

Well I just read an article about a Kansas Baptist church that is getting ready to picket Heath Ledger's funeral because he portrayed a gay character in Brokeback Mountain.

Honestly, these folks have nothing better to do? It's stuff like this that just makes us Christians look so cruel.

I know they think they're Christians but why the cruelty and the legalism? I could go on about all the ways they are theologically wrong to picket someone but I'll just mention a few.

A) Actors have portrayed pimps, killers, prostitutes... why didn't these picketers picket those actors' funeral? I mean...

B) The Bible is against homosexuality. But the new testament doesn't say be cruel to homosexuals.

C) We do not know if Heath was a Christian. If he is a Christian, his afterlife is between him and God. If he isn't a Christian, then he will be judged by the light he Paul states in the book of Romans. We cannot judge people.

D) Christianity is not about law but about grace. Jesus didn't come to condemn anyone. I swear! The amount of time and energy Christians focus on the law make me wonder if they understand what grace and love is all about. Are they really saved if they are using the law as a measuring stick? Do people of grace even think legalistically?

E) Jesus says the world will know us by two things: Our love and Our Good Works. I understand some folks might get annoyed with me and think I'm theologically wrong or playing with semantics but I can't see how picketing a person's funeral can be defined as a good work. Do a miracle and the world will turn to Jesus. Love your neighbor, your brother in Christ, and your enemy and the world will turn to Jesus. Picket someone's funeral? Well, we'll jut turn the world off....and give them ammunition to use against us. What is wrong with those people?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Black History Month

Well, the CRMs at our local Barnes and Noble (who I met from the booksigning and from something being planned for february) said they were pretty free to add whatever books they wanted to their black history month display. I suggested they have a table dedicated to black spec fic writers..and suggested
Wind Follower an inspirational fantasy novel written by Carole McDonnell and published by Juno Books a traditional publisher.

So, if you are friends with any managers at Barnes and Noble or Daltons or Borders, hey, I'd really appreciate it if you put a word in for me. It doesn't hurt to ask so, why not ask? The worst they can do is reject the idea.

Anyways, wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

When Jesus Understood

Today hubby and I were reading devotionals this morning, we read Matthew 26:10 in which the woman put the jar of alabastar all over Jesus. The line that jumped out at me was ..."when Jesus understood..."

Imagine that. Something happened to Jesus and everyone was talking about what it all meant on a normal earthly level. Then Jesus understood what was going on. Spiritually. The Holy Spirit had revealed to Him what was going on. The woman was preparing him for his funeral.

I can imagine Jesus's face as this sudden insight came into His spirit and mind.

May Holy Spirit give us insight into what is going on in our lives. And may he strengthen us to endure and to do what we have to do.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Bible verse dream

I went to bed last night thinking about my need to feel God's love. I truly believe that one can endure anything and be healed of all the hurts thrown into one's life by humans and demons if one really feels God's love. Felt that so much about life is about "an unveiling"... as Paul said in Ephesians... that there are things we need to truly see and know, that to know God's love for us, God's power in us and about us, God's guide, God's care...

And what do I dream of?

I had two dreams: The first dream was about a person who hurt me. I forgave her. She wasn't a Christian and I was. Then I had hurt someone else -- a little slight, mind you-- and she was a Christian and very rigid and very unforgiving. I sat in the dream amazed and stunned at how unforgiving this supposedly Christian could be, and how relentless in her unforgiveness. She was pretty mean to me and closed the door in my face although I begged her to forgive me.

The second dream was about psalm 70 and 71. A woman from church and I were reading it. Got up and read it: The verses that really touched me were:

Psalms 70: 4 May all those who seek you be happy and rejoice in you!
May those who love to experience your deliverance say continually, “May God be praised!”

Psalms 71: 8,
I praise you constantly and speak of your splendor all day long.

71:15 I will tell about your justice, and all day long proclaim your salvation, though I cannot fathom its full extent.

71:16 I will come and tell about the mighty acts of the sovereign Lord. I will proclaim your justice – yours alone.

71:17 O God, you have taught me since I was young, and I am still declaring your amazing deeds.

When we read these verse -- and depending on the translations-- we sometimes think of them as a plea to God, but they really can also be read as commands to the people of God.

So I feel as if I have been given a command, something that I must be obedient to and obey with every possible ounce of obedience

Really trying to work on my mouth.

God bless.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Gossip, the media and The Other Woman blues

I'm feeling sorry for Britney Spears. I always liked her. I always got majorly peeved at the way the media and those oh so perfect anchor women mocked and sneered at her. They had that "she is so unlike the perfect we" attitude that made me want to call up and say, "Excuse me, I am like Brit...even if you're not. I'm normal folks." (I won't go on about how much I dislike TV reporter types. I'll just say they seem to think that all their viewers are out of Ozzie and Harriet. Who do they think they're reporting to?) Watching the news yesterday about her meltdown she reminded me of all those other "other women" who have suffered after they get the philandering guy.

But first a word about my father. He cheated on my mother during their brief marriage and dumped her at last when he met the woman who would become my stepmother. That woman, my stepmother, finally left him after suffering years of heartache because of his cheating on her and died at her workstation of a heart attack full of grief and suffering. My mother grieved all her life because she lost my father ...but it was truly a blessing. She was freed from a philandering abuser she was too in love with to divorce.

Then there's Stacy Peterson -- She got the guy after the guy's wife mysteriously dies in bath tub. She reportedly was seeing him during the marriage. Now she's "missing" and Drew Peterson is a "person of interest" in her death.

Mariah Carey -- got the guy (Tommy Mottola) --and tons of platinum records-- after getting from Tommy's then wife. But then divorces him and there's all this hint about her personal distress while she was married to him.

And of course, Britney who got Kevin Federline after Federline left his then-pregnant girlfriend Shar Jackson and his young child. Now, she's lost her kids in a custody battle. One might wonder why Britney should lose her kids when it was Kevin who was supposedly cheating on her in the marriage. Because the guy so destroyed her ego and self-esteem that she has apparently been melting down ever since he left her.

Some guys are just bad news and it amazes me that so many women lose their minds when they fall in love with such men. My mother used to say if a guy cheats with you he will cheat on you. I'll only add, if a guy kills his first wife and marries you, there's a pretty good chance he might not be too great about your feelings too.

Why do we humans -- especially when we're in love-- think that a guy might be mean to someone else but will be kind to us? And why don't we believe in the old adage, "What goes around comes around?" Hey, Solomon said so in the Book of Ecclesiastes. St Paul said it. There's a proverb that goes, "fools learn by experience; wise men learn by authority." Let's keep our self safe and just trust what the old wives and what the authority has said.

Strange that we all think "what goes around comes around" and "payback is a bitch" but we really don't want to believe that spiritual laws would ever affect us? Nah, karma is not a thing to play with. None of us deserve the suffering we sometimes get from the romantic unthinking cruel thing we do to others. Although Britney took Kevin away from his pregnant baby-mamma (a blessing for Shar Jackson) Britney doesn't deserve to lose her children. Yet that, unfortunately, is the way things work. We don't see the spiritual effects of our actions that often, or else we don't recognize it. But trust's there. Payback occurs.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

I've come too far

I'm a person of faith. This means I believe all things are possible. I truly believe this.

As the psalmist (Psalm 27) says, "what would have become of me if I didn't believe I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living?"

I hope to see miracles. I hope to see the goodness of the lord in the land of the living. I expect God to restore my life and fix all those areas in my life that were destroyed by my stupid actions. I may not get all I want but I am determined to try to go from glory to glory. I won't be satisfied with seeing only one vision in my life. I won't be satisfied with only one spectacular miracle in my life. I want to be a child of God who lives an abundant life abundantly.

Of course there are folks out there (religious and atheist) who think this is all very childish and naive on my part.

But honestly, it's my life and if I want to believe in a life of wonder, who are they to say that I am theologically wrong? In all honesty, I've come too far to turn back now. The Christ I used to follow was a Christ who was a pale Galilean, someone who got you into heaven and that was that. Now my eyes are opened to the glorious gospel...and I believe He loves me very much and wants to do wonders for His people...that it is His pleasure to give me all in the kingdom: Physical health, prosperity, inner joy, the gifts of the spirit and untimately heaven. I can't turn back from such a redeemer who saves in all ways and who saves to the uttermost to the God I was taught to serve earlier...a God who doled out blessings stingily and who had to be convinced and nagged for a blessing...and who sent you sorrows because he loved you and who wanted you to learn to surrender to demonic oppression, sickness and the like. That is the God I was trained to worship...and although I know there is a lot I will and should surrender to....I also know that surrendering to a life without faith in miracles is not what I want to return to.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


The Bible tells us that All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. But it also tells us that where the law is sin is not imputed. Yet all have died because of Adam's sin. Complicated concept because although folks who know nothing of the law are not having their sin imputed to them, the fact is that they are aware of good and evil in some way by some internal conscience god put in them and they are also dead and in need of having their spirit awakened.

Several times I've dealt with folks who said, "I'm a good person" or "I feel no need for a god." What does one do with someone like this?

They have no real consciousness of what sin is. They don't really have my standards so their conscience is different from mine. What to do? I leave them alone. The need to be perfect and good is fulfilled in their hearts. They think they are good. Do they long for the beauty of holiness? Do they long for the glories of the supernatural God (not mere silly paranormal esp stuff?) Do they long to serve a being who created them simply because He created them? No. A regular life is all right for them. Talk of sin is a totally different language. Well, I kinda leave them alone.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Aiming High, Finding Self

I'm going to sound awfully vain right now but hey....

I expected Wind Follower to be on a lot of best of lists. Now, part of this is normal writer expectation. When writing, most honest writers truly believe they have written the best book in the world. (Hey, you have to be conceited enough to survive in this publishing world.) The other part is that, well, I was a literature major in college. That's all I did. In fact I never took any writing classes. So reading all those wonderful literary works, one gets this idea in one's head that one day one will do a great work also.

Well, Wind Follower was on a few best of lists. A few. Several reviewers placed it in their top ten favorite books of all time. Some included it in their best of the year list. Some liked certain aspects of it.

But the resounding universal praise for it just isn't there. (Okay, I'm whining...and I know it.) One reason for this is that many people still haven't heard of it. Another reason is that the book, like all books, isn't to everyone's taste. Very few books, great or not, are liked by everyone. If one considers all the lists out there -- in this case, all the speculative fiction lists-- very few books are on ALL those lists.

At first I was feeling a bit forgotten, rejected and alone. But then I got sane. Or as sane as a writer can be. I'm a debut author, after all. I have to aim high. And herein lies the big decisions: Lord knows what aiming high actually entails. Many reviewers loved the originality of my setting. Question: should I aim for another original setting? Many reviewers loved the beauty of the language. Again, the same question: should I try to repeat that in my next work?

The search for the perfect reader, I'm beginning to realize, can be a self-denying self-thwarting search...especially for people-pleasers with rejection issues. What if I don't want to write another story like Wind Follower? At least not now? What if something grittier, less lovely, less fantastical calls me? What if something within me wants to write a book about sexual healing in contemporary time? Would those who love my original setting follow me into contemporary realms? Would those who love beautiful language want to hear harsh urban sounds? Would those who like its Christian elements turn against me if I write a book that is frankly very political and racial?

I've asked my hubby and friends who they believe my perfect readers might be. They tell me that all my stories are very heart-felt, barebones emotions, aching. They say that my core readers will be people who like to be taken on a devastating, but truthful, heart ride. There will be concentric circles and tangential circles filled with other kinds of fans: those who like Carole McDonnell stories when she writes about black issues, those who like Carole McDonnell stories when she writes high fantasy, those who like Carole McDonnell stories when she writes about religion, those who like Carole McDonnell stories even when she has a miserable noble failure. Etc, Etc. And there will be circles completely far from these circles: those who do not like Carole McDonnell stories at all.

The thing for me to do, however, is to write...and to see clear...and to create only those stories that God and my soul need me to write.

So...come what may, come new story -- whatever you are-- Onward. And welcome to those of you who will be my core fans. -C

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