Next Week’s Features

I’m doing something a little different next week. I’m on vacation, so I’m running some specials posts.

On Mission Monday I’m posting about the reason this blog is called, “Spoiled For The Ordinary.”

Writing Wednesday features a short story I wrote for fun. If I post about writing, I wanted to show that I actually do some! Enjoy “Batgirl.”

Finally I will replay my greatest hit on Free Friday. I’m running my most visited post – “Why We Need Heroes.”

I hope y’all enjoy if you’ve missed these before. I know I’ll enjoy myself!

Next Week’s Features

I’m doing something a little different next week. I’m on vacation, so I’m running some specials posts.

On Mission Monday I’m posting about the reason this blog is called, “Spoiled For The Ordinary.”

Writing Wednesday features a short story I wrote for fun. If I post about writing, I wanted to show that I actually do some! Enjoy “Batgirl.”

Finally I will replay my greatest hit on Free Friday. I’m running my most visited post – “Why We Need Heroes.”

I hope y’all enjoy if you’ve missed these before. I know I’ll enjoy myself!

The Opposite Sex

I’m a guy.

I hope this has been properly established. Just in case it hasn’t, I’m married to a wonderful woman, I like explosions, football, and bacon. If I can have an exploding football while eating bacon, life is good.

Why then, as a beginning author trying to write a novel, do I have a female main character?

Perhaps it is because I am crazy?

It is actually what the story demanded. That’s what popped into my head, and I ran with it.

Still, it is hard enough to come up with a story arc that can hold interest yet believability for 80,000 words. Why complicate things by trying to envision it as the opposite sex?

I know I’ve messed up in the process. I’ve had friends critique things as I go along, and I’ve especially tried to get female perspective on things. My frequent question is “would a woman think/do this?”

Probably the hardest thing I had to deal with is being told my main character, Jenna Dawson, “wasn’t likeable.” I meant her to be a type A, driven personality who is a bit impulsive and impatient (another challenge, because I’m not a type A person). She’s pushing to be an emergency physician, so she has to be strong. The problem became that she was too harsh according to some friends I respect. I’ve had to work on revising old stuff and watch that in my latest writing.

I would say that’s the biggest thing I’ve had to do – get feedback and be open to the criticism. In a recent writing contest, I submitted my first 15 pages. Thankfully, I received good comments on Jenna as an engaging main character. Hopefully I’m learning!

The interesting thing is, according to the Gender Genie, I’m more of a feminine writer. Mike Duran posted about the difference between male and female writers, and used this fun little web site in his discussion. I don’t think the site is very scientific, but it still was interesting to try it out.

Words: 1195
(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)
Female Score: 1478
Male Score: 1407
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

Should writers be afraid of writing the opposite sex? Well, unless a man is writing about monks or a woman’s book is in a nunnery, you’re going to have to anyway. We’re going to use our imagination anyway, so we need to do our research and be willing to change if our females are too manly, or a male lead is too girly.

In closing, here is some classic teaching on the difference between men’s brains and women’s brains. Enjoy!

The Opposite Sex

I’m a guy.

I hope this has been properly established. Just in case it hasn’t, I’m married to a wonderful woman, I like explosions, football, and bacon. If I can have an exploding football while eating bacon, life is good.

Why then, as a beginning author trying to write a novel, do I have a female main character?

Perhaps it is because I am crazy?

It is actually what the story demanded. That’s what popped into my head, and I ran with it.

Still, it is hard enough to come up with a story arc that can hold interest yet believability for 80,000 words. Why complicate things by trying to envision it as the opposite sex?

I know I’ve messed up in the process. I’ve had friends critique things as I go along, and I’ve especially tried to get female perspective on things. My frequent question is “would a woman think/do this?”

Probably the hardest thing I had to deal with is being told my main character, Jenna Dawson, “wasn’t likeable.” I meant her to be a type A, driven personality who is a bit impulsive and impatient (another challenge, because I’m not a type A person). She’s pushing to be an emergency physician, so she has to be strong. The problem became that she was too harsh according to some friends I respect. I’ve had to work on revising old stuff and watch that in my latest writing.

I would say that’s the biggest thing I’ve had to do – get feedback and be open to the criticism. In a recent writing contest, I submitted my first 15 pages. Thankfully, I received good comments on Jenna as an engaging main character. Hopefully I’m learning!

The interesting thing is, according to the Gender Genie, I’m more of a feminine writer. Mike Duran posted about the difference between male and female writers, and used this fun little web site in his discussion. I don’t think the site is very scientific, but it still was interesting to try it out.

Words: 1195
(NOTE: The genie works best on texts of more than 500 words.)
Female Score: 1478
Male Score: 1407
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

Should writers be afraid of writing the opposite sex? Well, unless a man is writing about monks or a woman’s book is in a nunnery, you’re going to have to anyway. We’re going to use our imagination anyway, so we need to do our research and be willing to change if our females are too manly, or a male lead is too girly.

In closing, here is some classic teaching on the difference between men’s brains and women’s brains. Enjoy!

Applied Learning

Another Mission Monday. Another series in our Outreach Saga.

The link there will catch you up if you’re so inclined. The basics so far – I’m in a home group/church that has decided to meet out in a local park for the summer. We’re meeting next to a set of low-income apartments on Sundays, inviting the people to a “BBQ for Jesus” and hanging out with them.

My last two Monday posts have talked about our first two experiences relating to what we have done with the people there. Yesterday was another good day where we were able to bless people relationally, financially, and spiritually. I had a great conversation with some guys discussing our souls, forgiveness, and cremation(!).

The outside manifestation of what Jesus is leading us to do is cool enough. However, I am seeing an equally important side-effect.

I am being transformed.

I have been a faithful church attender since high school. I went to church when my mom had given up on it long ago. I’ve been through church splits, highs, lows, and anywhere in between. The Lord has been walking with me all along, through the trials and blessings. However, over the last several years I have struggled at church. I knew that I was not going to get milk. I wasn’t a new Christian, and I felt that I needed to reach out and be a blessing to others. I taught Bible studies and Sunday school classes. I filled in for the pastor if he was gone. Why, I even acted as a “lay pastor” when we were 5 months in between ministers.

Still, it was more of a duty going on Sunday mornings. I felt it was my fault. I needed to pray more prior to church. I had to get my “heart” right. It was on me.

Now that we aren’t doing church as usual, I think I’m seeing something.

Since we don’t have a strict format, since we’re going week by week trying to listen to God and do whatever is set before us, there is a difference in my heart.

There’s an excitement. There’s a renewal of a passion that had cooled.

There’s a new dependence on Jesus.

We don’t know what is going to happen each time! We have done a variety of things so far. I can’t plan – I can’t use my prior knowledge of the Bible or church to guide me. (Certainly I’m leaning on the Word, but it isn’t where I plan a three-point sermon or lesson).

It is staying sensitive to the Spirit each time we’re out there. It is crying out to Jesus through the week, recognizing that I am in over my head! I need Him to walk with me through this.

I am being changed again.

I have had the privilege of many different experiences that have strengthened my relationship with Jesus. A mission trip, nine months of Bible school, and my long history in church walking with some dear people.

It reminds me of my physician assistant program. The first year was almost all classroom. We took in so much information it was like drinking from a fire hose. The second year was our clinical year. We worked with doctors, PA’s, or nurse practitioners to take care of patients. I was part of a team that helped people, and it made the classroom learning real, because it was applied learning.

I feel like our little group is in clinicals right now. We’ve had many years of going to church, learning and building up our knowledge base and our spiritual lives. Now we are in the practical stage. It is time to go out and do.

It is a challenge. It is frightening at times. It is also exhilirating. I know Jesus is helping us as we try to obey as best we can. I’m learning more and more the truth behind this verse:

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)

Applied Learning

Another Mission Monday. Another series in our Outreach Saga.

The link there will catch you up if you’re so inclined. The basics so far – I’m in a home group/church that has decided to meet out in a local park for the summer. We’re meeting next to a set of low-income apartments on Sundays, inviting the people to a “BBQ for Jesus” and hanging out with them.

My last two Monday posts have talked about our first two experiences relating to what we have done with the people there. Yesterday was another good day where we were able to bless people relationally, financially, and spiritually. I had a great conversation with some guys discussing our souls, forgiveness, and cremation(!).

The outside manifestation of what Jesus is leading us to do is cool enough. However, I am seeing an equally important side-effect.

I am being transformed.

I have been a faithful church attender since high school. I went to church when my mom had given up on it long ago. I’ve been through church splits, highs, lows, and anywhere in between. The Lord has been walking with me all along, through the trials and blessings. However, over the last several years I have struggled at church. I knew that I was not going to get milk. I wasn’t a new Christian, and I felt that I needed to reach out and be a blessing to others. I taught Bible studies and Sunday school classes. I filled in for the pastor if he was gone. Why, I even acted as a “lay pastor” when we were 5 months in between ministers.

Still, it was more of a duty going on Sunday mornings. I felt it was my fault. I needed to pray more prior to church. I had to get my “heart” right. It was on me.

Now that we aren’t doing church as usual, I think I’m seeing something.

Since we don’t have a strict format, since we’re going week by week trying to listen to God and do whatever is set before us, there is a difference in my heart.

There’s an excitement. There’s a renewal of a passion that had cooled.

There’s a new dependence on Jesus.

We don’t know what is going to happen each time! We have done a variety of things so far. I can’t plan – I can’t use my prior knowledge of the Bible or church to guide me. (Certainly I’m leaning on the Word, but it isn’t where I plan a three-point sermon or lesson).

It is staying sensitive to the Spirit each time we’re out there. It is crying out to Jesus through the week, recognizing that I am in over my head! I need Him to walk with me through this.

I am being changed again.

I have had the privilege of many different experiences that have strengthened my relationship with Jesus. A mission trip, nine months of Bible school, and my long history in church walking with some dear people.

It reminds me of my physician assistant program. The first year was almost all classroom. We took in so much information it was like drinking from a fire hose. The second year was our clinical year. We worked with doctors, PA’s, or nurse practitioners to take care of patients. I was part of a team that helped people, and it made the classroom learning real, because it was applied learning.

I feel like our little group is in clinicals right now. We’ve had many years of going to church, learning and building up our knowledge base and our spiritual lives. Now we are in the practical stage. It is time to go out and do.

It is a challenge. It is frightening at times. It is also exhilirating. I know Jesus is helping us as we try to obey as best we can. I’m learning more and more the truth behind this verse:

“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27)

The Continuing Saga

Two down. Not sure how many more to go.

So far this is a three week series. In the first post I explained how a group of friends in Christ decided to do church a little differently. Last Monday I told the story how we didn’t even get the right date on our invitations, but God showed up anyway. Also some people.

We decided last week to meet again at this local park. It is in the midst of a low-income housing area, with over one hundred apartment complexes. In our city it is known as a rougher area of town. The thing we found last week is that people were receptive to us coming and spending time with them.

After some preparation and more invitations (with the right date, thank you very much) we showed up again on Sunday morning. The first gentleman I talked to asked what denomination we were with.

“Well, we’re just a home church trying to do something a little different.”

We had another good day. People came back from last week. New people showed up. We prayed for people, made arrangements to help one person move, and ran out of hamburgers.

The takeaway point for me was one woman saying, “Our complex needs this. Thank you for making a little community time together.”

There are many people out there who are proponents of home church who say it is the only way to do things. I’m not in that camp, but I think our modern American lifestyle does not allow for true coming together as neighbors. We don’t sit on the front porch anymore – we huddle in our backyards behind privacy fencing. We don’t go to the local church – we drive 30 miles to the one that “makes us feel good” and “meets our needs.”

I know we’ve only done this twice, and I can’t make too many generalizations from just a couple of events. However, it seems that people are hungry to find some grace out there, and I would suggest that the followers of Jesus are the ones to bring it.

A minister friend of mine, Tom Brock, says something to this effect: “Belong, Believe, Behave.” We need to make people feel that they belong, that they are welcome and that they are worthy. If we help them belong, then they will come to believe. Out of that, they will learn to behave. So many of these folks have gone to church, sought after God, and have been rejected.

It grieves my heart.

We’re on a little adventure right now. I know we’re going to that park again on Sunday, and after that we don’t know. I’m not sharing this because I have some secret or that we’re doing things “the right way.”

We’re doing things one way, and God is showing up. It is refreshing. It brings life. I hope to share a little of what we’re learning here is all.

And if you’re bored on Sunday, drop me a line. I know a cool place to hang out.

The Continuing Saga

Two down. Not sure how many more to go.

So far this is a three week series. In the first post I explained how a group of friends in Christ decided to do church a little differently. Last Monday I told the story how we didn’t even get the right date on our invitations, but God showed up anyway. Also some people.

We decided last week to meet again at this local park. It is in the midst of a low-income housing area, with over one hundred apartment complexes. In our city it is known as a rougher area of town. The thing we found last week is that people were receptive to us coming and spending time with them.

After some preparation and more invitations (with the right date, thank you very much) we showed up again on Sunday morning. The first gentleman I talked to asked what denomination we were with.

“Well, we’re just a home church trying to do something a little different.”

We had another good day. People came back from last week. New people showed up. We prayed for people, made arrangements to help one person move, and ran out of hamburgers.

The takeaway point for me was one woman saying, “Our complex needs this. Thank you for making a little community time together.”

There are many people out there who are proponents of home church who say it is the only way to do things. I’m not in that camp, but I think our modern American lifestyle does not allow for true coming together as neighbors. We don’t sit on the front porch anymore – we huddle in our backyards behind privacy fencing. We don’t go to the local church – we drive 30 miles to the one that “makes us feel good” and “meets our needs.”

I know we’ve only done this twice, and I can’t make too many generalizations from just a couple of events. However, it seems that people are hungry to find some grace out there, and I would suggest that the followers of Jesus are the ones to bring it.

A minister friend of mine, Tom Brock, says something to this effect: “Belong, Believe, Behave.” We need to make people feel that they belong, that they are welcome and that they are worthy. If we help them belong, then they will come to believe. Out of that, they will learn to behave. So many of these folks have gone to church, sought after God, and have been rejected.

It grieves my heart.

We’re on a little adventure right now. I know we’re going to that park again on Sunday, and after that we don’t know. I’m not sharing this because I have some secret or that we’re doing things “the right way.”

We’re doing things one way, and God is showing up. It is refreshing. It brings life. I hope to share a little of what we’re learning here is all.

And if you’re bored on Sunday, drop me a line. I know a cool place to hang out.

It’s The Little Things

Patient in photo may differ in real life
As a PA, I examine people all day long. I do a lot of physicals, and it can get routine. I have a little trick that helps me through the day.
When examining my patient, my back is to the garbage can. You know the little black tips on the ear light (otoscope for those medically inclined)? I like to toss them over my shoulder in a no-look shot. I miss more than my fair share, but the patient isn’t expecting it, and it usually makes them perk up a little, enhancing our interaction together.

 Laughter is the best medicine, right?

Today I thought about some of the little touches I’m putting into my WIP. They’re the things that may not matter to others, but it keeps my interest in this project I’ve worked on for so long. They also may lead to story threads.

I’m a soccer fan, and I’m listening to the Euro2012 tournament in between patients. I had my heroine be a star player for her high school team (much better than I ever was). At first it was just a character detail from my background work.

Then it became a plot hinge.

It helped me introduce another character and the connection shared between her and my protagonist. I had no idea that it would turn out that way, but it fit perfectly.

Another tech for the dust bin of history…
Another time I saw a magazine ad with the image of a man and woman resting on the beach, his arm around her from behind (the “spooning” position). I liked the picture, so I cut it out and kept it in my writing notebook for kicks and giggles. I didn’t know how I could work it into my story, but I didn’t forget it.

I recently hit a point where it made sense to put this set-up in, sans the beach. It isn’t important in the scheme of things, but it suggests I should listen to my gut whenever I notice details or come up with some character quirk. You never know when these ideas will play out.
Too bad I lost the memory in my old Palm Pilot (remember those?) where I had so many ideas stashed.

It’s The Little Things

Patient in photo may differ in real life
As a PA, I examine people all day long. I do a lot of physicals, and it can get routine. I have a little trick that helps me through the day.
When examining my patient, my back is to the garbage can. You know the little black tips on the ear light (otoscope for those medically inclined)? I like to toss them over my shoulder in a no-look shot. I miss more than my fair share, but the patient isn’t expecting it, and it usually makes them perk up a little, enhancing our interaction together.

 Laughter is the best medicine, right?

Today I thought about some of the little touches I’m putting into my WIP. They’re the things that may not matter to others, but it keeps my interest in this project I’ve worked on for so long. They also may lead to story threads.

I’m a soccer fan, and I’m listening to the Euro2012 tournament in between patients. I had my heroine be a star player for her high school team (much better than I ever was). At first it was just a character detail from my background work.

Then it became a plot hinge.

It helped me introduce another character and the connection shared between her and my protagonist. I had no idea that it would turn out that way, but it fit perfectly.

Another tech for the dust bin of history…
Another time I saw a magazine ad with the image of a man and woman resting on the beach, his arm around her from behind (the “spooning” position). I liked the picture, so I cut it out and kept it in my writing notebook for kicks and giggles. I didn’t know how I could work it into my story, but I didn’t forget it.

I recently hit a point where it made sense to put this set-up in, sans the beach. It isn’t important in the scheme of things, but it suggests I should listen to my gut whenever I notice details or come up with some character quirk. You never know when these ideas will play out.
Too bad I lost the memory in my old Palm Pilot (remember those?) where I had so many ideas stashed.