Monday, March 27, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

April 1
10 am to noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff, in the Barn
 (red building on the right as you enter the property)

Our Focus Point this week is

direction or Distraction?
Graphic compliments of nationalgeographic.com

Saturday's discussion:
Memoir - what is it and what makes it worth reading?

Get the encouragement you need, whether you're an accomplished writer, beginner or somewhere in between.

Hope to see you Saturday,
Barbara

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Practical Side of Passion

The following is the devotional from our meeting on March 4.

Outside of those who write instruction manuals or how-to assembly instructions, I would think that every writer is motivated by passion. I can’t imagine writers giving themselves to the task if there is no passion in it. Passion is greater than enthusiasm. By definition, it is an “intense, driving, or over-mastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking for some activity, object, or concept.” (Mirriam-Webster Dictionary)
Writers may have a passion for justice or encouragement or health or for weaving a good story. My friend's blog was born from her passion for fashion. Maude’s poetry is birthed from a passion for God, family and Israel. Revealing passion in our work, makes it contagious and engages our readers.
Passion is what inspires us and compels us to sit in a chair for hours, putting words to paper. The problem with passion, however, is that it’s heavy with emotion and emotions vacillate. Which brings us to today’s focus, The Practical Side of Passion. How do we maintain passion? I make three suggestions:

  • Passion takes up space, so make room for itin your mind and in your moments. 
This means we will be intentional with what we put in our minds and allow to take up our moments. Isaiah asks, "Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare" (Isa. 55:2).
  • Passion fades, so fan it.
Talk to yourself; talk to God; talk to others. Learn; practice; blog. Paul wrote to Timothy, “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" (2 Tim. 1:6-7).
  • Passion subsists on truth, so feed it. 
What we feed grows, so we must feed our passion, not with vacillating feelings, but with sustaining truth. It’s not a matter of getting emotionally pumped, but being deeply balanced. How many times have you run off at the mouth with something that you deeply felt, only to find out you were mistaken. Let’s feed our passion with truth, “…for out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34 NIV). Read this verse in the NLT: “…For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

Take away thought:  Make room for your passion; fan your passion; feed your passion.

Article developed more fully on my website barbarahigbyhope.com 
Graphic compliments of pintrest.com/stickmancliff

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

March 4

10 am to noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff, in the Barn
 (red building on the right as you enter the property)

Our Focus Point this week is:

The Practical Side of Passion 




Passion compels us as writers. This Saturday we'll talk about 
stoking our passion and writing from full hearts.

Get the encouragement you need, whether you're an accomplished writer, 
beginner or somewhere in between.

Looking forward to seeing you,
Barbara

February's Focus Point

The Diversity of God
I remember standing in front of the birds on display at the American Museum of Natural History and being overwhelmed by the vastness of God’s creativity. I thought, “If I was given the specifics of an animal that had wings for flying and a beak for eating, and told to create a bird, how many variations could I possibly contrive?” Six? Sixty? The museum exhibits 300 of the 400 species New York City attracts alone. There are almost 10,000 species of birds in the worldtropical birds and arctic birds, fish-eating birds and seed-eating birds, large birds and small birds, drab birds and outrageously colorful birds. The diversity of appearance, habits and habitat is astoundingnot even considering mammals, amphibians and fish. All of this from a wildly imaginative, abundantly creative, generous Creator God, who also made us.  
Having been made in God's image, we not only mirror His creative nature, but are gifted by Him to use our innovative skills for Him. Read what Moses said to the Israelites in Exodus 35:30-33, "See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel … and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic craftsmanship." 
Creativity in craftsmanship also includes crafting words. Chuck Colson wrote this about creativity in language:
The nature of Scripture itself affirms the importance of creativity in language. God did not reveal Himself through a list of essential doctrines or a schematic outline of theology. Instead, He chose to reveal Himself through the writings of a variety of authors over many hundreds of years in just about every type of literature then known to humanity. There are historical narratives, laws, poems and songs, proverbs, prophetic oracles, parables, letters, apocalyptic literature, even genealogies. In producing our own literature, we are following the example of God who gave us a rich literary heritage in His word. (The Image of God and Creativity, colsoncenter.org)
In our writing group, we have often looked at Ephesians 2:10, which calls us God's workmanship who have been created … to do the good works God has prepared for us to do.
My challenge for us today is to step out of the little boxes of time and space where we live. Let's ask the Creator, our Creator, to lead us where we’ve not yet gone and use our skills in new arenas.
Take away thought: Let’s expand our minds to be as broad, diverse and inclusive as our Creator’s.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Meeting this Saturday

February 4

10 am to noon

Cornerstone Christian Church, Wyckoff, in the Barn
 (red building on the right as you enter the property)


Our discussion will focus on tapping into our 

God-given creativity

Get the encouragement you need, whether you're an accomplished writer, 
beginner or somewhere in between.

Looking forward to seeing familiar faces and new,
Barbara

January's Focus Point:
The Power of a Word
How many of you choose a word for the year? My word for 2017 is clarity. There are reasons far too personal to share in this setting but one area where I want clarity is in my writingnot how I write, that goes without sayingbut in what I write. I feel conflicted by competing desires, good ideas and worthy goals and acknowledge that, as valuable as they may be, having too many possibilities can deter productivity.
Proverbs 4:25-27 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left....”
The phrase I want to focus on is this: “take only ways that are firm.” There are many ways, opportunities that are worthy, but I believe God will position us on a firm footing to accomplish what He has for us at this time. Options and creative ideas abound for each of us—we’re writers, creative by our God-given nature—and I hope we all keep lists with every brilliant idea we have, but we must to fix our gaze, make a level, firm place to stand, and do one thing at a time really well.
Take away thought: The blessing of creativity is a river that requires channeling. We must quiet our hearts and ask, “God, what would you have me do now?” and then do it wholeheartedly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Requested Recipes!

We had a great time at our annual brunch. In addition to great fellowship and goal setting, we enjoyed a delicious array of foods. In response to popular request, here are some of the recipes you asked for:


Sticky Buns - Ann VanHine


1 1/2 loves of frozen bread dough
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 pack of butterscotch pudding mix (COOK & SERVE not instant)
1 stick of butter
walnuts or pecans

Put a layer of walnuts or pecans in 13X 9 baking dish. I do spray pan with PAM. cut dough into 12 pieces and lay on nuts. In a bowl, combine the sugars, pudding mix and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the dough. Cut stick of butter into 12 pieces and place one piece on each piece of dough. Place in oven overnight. In the morning prick the dough with a fork and then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. After done cut around the edges and flip over onto serving plate.  Enjoy!


Salmon Spread - Maude C. Pych
1 14.75 oz. can salmon, red preferred
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. horseradish
2 tbs. lemon juice
1/4 c. parsley, minced
1/2 c, onion, minced
dill, thyme and/or sage, minced (optional)
red bell pepper, minced (optional)
1/2 stalk celery, minced (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix well. Shape like a fish.
Use a slice of pitted ripe olive for fish-eye
Use pimento or sliver of red pepper for mouth
Sprinkle with dried dill, if desired
Decorate platter
Serve with crackers, carrots, celery

Be creative. Vary spices.


Winter Salad - Susan Panzica

Dressing:
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion (or dry minced onion)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Salad:
1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces (about 10 cups)
4 oz. (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup cashews (I use pecans or whatever)
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1 apple, cubed
1 pear, cubed

In blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard, and salt. Cover; process until blended. With machine running, add oil in slow steady stream, processing until thick and smooth. Add poppy seeds; process a few seconds to mix.

In large serving bowl, combine salad ingredients; toss to mix. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.

Notes:
Swiss cheese can be omitted for non-cheese eaters.
In summer, I substitute strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges, mango, etc.
I usually pare the pear, skin can be bitter.

BON APPETIT!!
         
         




Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Reminder - this Saturday!


Wishing you all a Happy New Year! 

At our next meeting on Jan. 7, 2017, we will hold our annual brunch 
(postponed from our usual December so that more people can attend). 

We look forward to breaking bread together as we continue along our writing journeys. 

For the brunch, here are the signups so far. If you aren't on the list and would like to bring something, please just hit reply or email: njcwgroup@gmail.com. If you're new to the group or just not able to bring something, please come anyway! 

Quiche - Leslie
Sticky Buns - Ann
Bagels - Nancy
Salmon Spread - Maude
Fruit Salad - Brian
Winter Salad - Susan
Juice - Jack
Beverages & Paper Goods - Barbara

***
Come prepared to share writing goals for 2017!!
We will continue our focus on story (for both fiction & nonfiction writing),
and if there's interest, we'll talk about the possibility of creating a NJCWG anthology.

***

New Year's Brunch coming up!!



Wishing you all a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

At our next meeting on Jan. 7, 2017, we will hold our annual brunch 
(postponed from our usual December so that more people can attend). 

We look forward to breaking bread together as we continue along our writing journeys. 

For the brunch, here are the signups so far. If you aren't on the list and would like to bring something, please just hit reply or email: njcwgroup@gmail.com. If you're new to the group or just not able to bring something, please come anyway! 

Quiche - Leslie
Sticky Buns - Ann
Bagels - Nancy
Salmon Spread - Maude
Fruit Salad - Brian
Winter Salad - Susan
Juice - Jack
Beverages & Paper Goods - Barbara

***
Come prepared to share writing goals for 2017!!
We will continue our focus on story (for both fiction & nonfiction writing),
and if there's interest, we'll talk about the possibility of creating a NJCWG anthology.

 *** 



Saturday, December 03, 2016

December's Focus Point

A blessed Christmas to our members and followers. May your celebration of Christ's birth be meaningful and rich
Since some of you requested it, I posted this morning's Focus Point below.
Blessings to you & yours,
Barbara

The Power of Story, part 2
Last month we talked about Jesus’ story telling. If anyone possessed the wisdom and knowledge to cut directly to the heart of the matter it was Him - He didn’t need to weave stories to convey His point. Could His reason for storytelling have been because it is easier for us to grasp and remember truth through a story?
Jesus’ stories were not for entertainment; they always had deeper meaningstake-aways, if you will. As His people we can present deep truths through stories as well. Last month I shared this takeaway from Cec Murphey's website: Stories convey truth, sometimes better than stated principles. 
Luke demonstrates this in his 18th chapter with these words: 1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him… We know this as the parable of the persistent widow. Jesus told the story “to show them…” He did not tell them to always pray and not give up; He told the story and the story told them, impressing hearers with a story not easily forgotten.
This season many people will read the story of the first Christmas from the Bible or a retelling or both. This beloved "story" is not about the elements that have grown precious to us. It is not about a journey, full inns and a manger bed. It’s not about glorious angels making a surprise visit to sleepy shepherds. It’s not about foreign dignitaries following a star to honor a baby King. The purpose of the story is the takeaway - eternal life for all who believe the Christmas Babe is their Messiah.
As Christian writers, our stories have the power to convey God-ordained messages that offer life.
Take away thought: Story may be our greatest show-don't-tell tool and our most powerful method to convey truth.