Thursday, May 26, 2011

Obedience - Decision or Law?

The root word for obey in Hebrew is shama which also means hearing. In the case of Abraham who heard and hearkened to God, shama can mean to obey. Listen to my words and obey me.

Remember Joseph's dream in Genesis 37:6 he persuaded everyone to listen as he told his dream. Using the root word shama for hearing, and persuading his brothers to hear the dream. This was a request for their undivided attention. "Please listen to this dream which I have had."

Now the Greek word for obey is peitho (pi-tho) when used in the active voice its meaning is to convince by analogy or persuasion. Therefore you are not submitting blindly to authority in reaction to a command. You are being persuaded that this is the best way. God does not want us to blindly obey Him.

Since obedience is a conduct and may be observed, when we obey we give the only possible evidence that we believe in God. Also, in reality it is the persuasion of truth that results in faith.

When you obey you are making a quality decision based on truth. After learning the truth you develop faith. 

"But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed."  (Romans 6: 17) NASB

In summary, the word obey is not negative or bad. To obey is good. It means we have made a decision to have faith in the truth.

Blessings to all,


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Faith is About Relationship

When Jesus commanded Peter to come on the water to Him, Peter did not hesitate. He didn't care if it was stormy or waves were tossing the boat up and down. He got out of the boat with his eyes on Jesus. His faith was unshakable until a huge gale wind came up and Peter took his eyes off Jesus. He began to sink. The choppy water was slapping against Peter and he was more afraid of drowning than trusting.

Peter cried out to Jesus "Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14: 30-31)  Jesus said oh "you of little faith, why did you doubt me?"

Peter's answer is not recorded but I can imagine he didn't say much of anything.  He realized his fear of drowning overshadowed everything else, even the presence of Jesus. Peter experienced a great humbling experience and a tough lesson in faith.

Faith grows through various tests as we continue to trust God and He continues to teach us. Faith is about the relationship with Jesus and it cannot grow in any other way. It cannot be worked up in a formula or emotion.

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'. 

We can have victory in Jesus

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Six Tips to be a Better Proofreader

The importance of proofreading is often overlooked and under estimated. Alana Keane is a professional copywriter and her article below on How to be a Better Proofreader is a must read.
Please enjoy.

Copywriting Tips - Be a Better Proofreader

In a perfect world, you'd have a professional copywriter handle the writing for all of your marketing and business communication projects. Every report, every sales letter, every web page, every brochure... you'd rest easy knowing you had an expert on hand to keep it all up to par.

But the fact is, we don't live in a perfect world. We live in the real world and sometimes you have to write your own material. Of course, copywriting isn't one of those things that just comes easily to most people and after spending several days (or weeks) organizing your thoughts and working through multiple drafts, you may feel like celebrating. Don't uncork that champagne just yet, though. You still have to proofread.

Improve Your Proofreading

As tedious as it may be, proofreading is an essential part of the writing process. And though it seems like a straightforward procedure, after you've read -- and reread -- something over and over and over again, those pesky little mistakes get harder to detect. Make sure you catch them all by following a few basic tips.

Read it Out Loud

The words you've written may look great on paper. But how do they sound? You might be surprised to find that what you think you've written and what you've actually written are two different things. Find clunky phrases and repair them by reading what you've written out loud.

Read it Backwards

It's human nature to automatically correct the errors we may find while reading. To compensate for this, read your copy backwards. Start at the end and check each word for spelling errors. Remember: the spell check on your computer does not catch everything, including homophones like "their" and "they're" or "your" and "you're."

Have a Friend Read it

It never hurts to have another pair of eyes go over what you've written. Have a friend or co-worker read your copy and make suggestions for both grammar and style. You may disagree with the recommendations you receive, but you should give consideration to any constructive criticism that can make your work better.

Hire a Copywriter

There is often no substitute for professional copyedits. In a matter of minutes, a good copywriter can frequently detect errors you would have otherwise missed -- and suggest improvements you would never even have considered. Plus, since you've already put the time into writing a complete draft, hiring a professional copywriter to polish your work is significantly less expensive than contracting a project from scratch.

The Last Word
In the end, proofreading is time (and money) well spent -- because if you don't find the mistakes in your copy, your clients will.

© Copyright Alana Keane. All rights reserved worldwide.

About the Author
A professional copywriter with over a decade of experience, Alana Keane has been widely published on a national level. Her areas of expertise include copywriting for brochures, websites, sales letters, direct mail campaigns and more. Visit her website at

It's always good to have another pair of eyes,


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing and Selling Memoirs - Common Pitfalls - Part V

Unless your name is a household word no one but possibly your immediate family care that you were married six times or robbed a liquor store at the age of fifteen. The real truth is....

The odds of your memoir being rescued from the slush pile are close to nil and impossible…unless your hook is well developed.  (this post is adapted from Writer’s Digest July/August 2010 issue) One of the most challenging facets of writing a memoir is being able to view it with the perspective of someone who has never lived your experience.

Bring ordinary situations to life with dazzling details. For example, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert is a story about ordinary events such as divorce, travel, spirituality and food. Gilbert takes the reader along with her to experience every tear drop, laughter and epitome along her journey to healing.

Take care not to fall into the pitfalls below: 

Five Ineffective Memoir Hooks
  1. Do not mistake bitterness or anger(neither one is a good reason to write a book)  for passion.
  2. If your theme is not relatable to readers they will not read
  3. Don’t take too long to build or start too late in the story.
  4. When you follow too many different paths your plot becomes confusing.
  5. Don’t follow through to the end of the story. Your life story is not over yet. Focus on pivotal events that caused your life to do a back flip. Once you understand what a good hook is and what it should do, you will be ready to write, write, write.

Three Exercises to Define Your Hook

Write your own cover copy.

What do you do when browsing in a book store? Read the back cover or jacket flap. According to Writer’s Digest, some publishers begin working on this before a manuscript is completed because it is so essential to success.

Push your theme to the limit.

List 10 things that are unique to your situation. What makes your divorce different than your neighbors? Why should your bout with cancer be any different than others?  What range of emotions does your list hit?

Shift your focus.

Select five different starting points for your memoir then make a list of five different plots from those points. What track does the memoir follow when you start from a different position? How do you feel about each new story and where does each one end?

Also, here is a neat site at with many related videos on writing memoirs. Check them out.

Until next time,

"Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you." Madeline Bridges

Friday, August 27, 2010

Writing & Selling Memoirs: Know Where Your Memoir Fits - Part IV

“The Hook” is the center of every marketable book and is the key element in making a memoir marketable. Your uniqueness, controversy, tragedy, inspiration, shocking or funny story is the thin S-curve device clutching the heart and mind of a reader and publisher. Once “The Hook” grabs your audience, it will be up to your strong writing skills to keep them turning your pages.

According to Paula Balzer's  article in Writer’s Digest  July/August 2010,  “A Hook for Every Book”, memoir writing is not just about a history of your life. The article shares many tips to help you present your story in an interesting and marketable fashion.Yes, your hook will capture the attention of agents and editors but it will take your writing style and story to keep the momentum moving.

Distinguish Hook from Theme

You want your good book to be a great one and not just another spiritual journey for example. Your hook will take the reader along and as you painfully scratch crusted scabs from your wounds your audience will experience the healing process with you as you live it. It is important to note that your hook and the underlying theme of your memoir are not necessarily the same thing. You must be able to discern the difference between the two if you want to write an unforgettable memoir.

Effective hooks:

  • Bring something new to the table.
  • Go beyond the theme of the memoir.
  • Can be summed up in a sentence or two.
  • Are provocative and memorable.

Know where your book fits  
a few categories to get you started

Self-discovery, soul-searching, healing, survival and courage, a journey defined by pain but can show hope for others there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Example, “The Middle Place” by Kelly Corrigan

Love and relationships is not always about romantic love. Susan Richards’ “Chosen by a Horse” about a broken woman learning more from an abused animal than she ever imagined.

Family secrets – oh yes the juicy stuff but more than that, a unique perspective on courage and understanding can cover a wide variety of subjects. For instance in Bliss Broyard’s “One Drop” she investigates her father’s secret of having African-American roots. This is not exploitation but exploration of family dynamics which could make or break a family unit.

Read a Memoir
It’s a good idea to see how an author develops a hook and how they take an ordinary subject to make an unusual tale about pursuit of truth. Go to Writers for the rest of the story.

I hope your interest is peaked for writing memoirs. Look for Paula Balzer’s new book “Writing and Selling Your Memoir” forthcoming  spring of 2011.

Next week - Part V – Ineffective hooks and more exercises on how to define your hook.

You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration.
James Allen

Until next time

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Memoir Writing: Build Your Arc - Keep Your Memoir Afloat - Part III

When writing your memoir remember you are the action hero and the arc of your story is essential in determining what part needs dramatizing. Building your arc should be done before you begin any form of outline. An arc looks like the Bell curve used in some schools to bring up the grade average of a class. You begin low, reach a crescendo then begin the decline to the climax.

Beginning steps for constructing an arc.

1. The Desire Line - What was your life's desire? This will drive the book.
2. Actions and Obstacles - What did you do or want and what got in your way?
3. Emotional Beats - A memoir is an emotional journey. The events are not there because they happened but to show emotion you go through.
4. The Initiating Incident - This comes near the beginning and is the main cause of your troubles.
5. The Ending Incident - Your desire will define the ending.

Adair Lara's article, "Elements of an Effective Arc", in the July/August issue of Writer's Digest, explains in detail how to draw an arc and how emotions and obstacles are the heart beat of your story.

Lara says "Drawing your arc is not something you can knock out in the half-hour before dinner."

Get your toolbox ready,

Next week, Part IV - Turn Your story into a marketable memoir.

Write Better, More Powerful and More Engaging Nonfiction in a 52-week eCourse

Writing is a solitary profession. Most of the time it is just you, your creative mind and dim glow of your computer monitor. Also, if you are just beginning to enter the professional world of writing it is easy to get confused, overwhelmed and not know where to turn.

The best way to learn new things is one step at a time. Since I have enrolled in Suzanne Lieurance's 52-week eCourse How to Write Better, More Powerful, More Engaging Nonfiction, it is working well with my busy schedule. The one step at a time format is easy to follow and the best part is the weekly bonus links. These links are not easily found and yet Suzanne places them at your fingertips each week. Writer's research depends on quality links.

What are you waiting for?