Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Back On The Bus

I'm beginning a series of travel blogs from previous visits to Israel with a takeaway message for the journey. Enjoy.
Taking a tour of Israel is the best way to get your feet wet. Except for the occasional lunches not provided, and the extra suitcase you'll need to acquire for all the stuff you'll purchase, your trip has been paid for in advance.
You maneuver the airports as a group. You stay in nice hotels and eat great food - buffet style. You go from North to South, East to West, and depending on your tour, you stop at highlighted destinations that fulfill your interests. Your tour guide is full of information and keeps you out of unsafe areas. You meet new people and sometimes form lasting friendships.
Lets broaden this to - A Tour of Life.
Sometimes I get anxious about where I'm going in life. When I begin the mental trip, my Heavenly Abba reminds me...
Every morning I'd dress and head to the hotel dining room. There, I'd find a variety of delicious food to satisfy my hunger. I didn't have to hunt it down. Each meal was provided for me. I knew if I looked in the dining room, it would be available.
Now I was ready with new energy to board the bus.
Some days I knew exactly where we were going. Other days I had a vague idea and there were times when I'd never heard of the place. But our tour guide knew exactly where we were going. He'd been to each place before.
Some of the places we went to were a piece of cake to navigate. Other places presented a challenge with hills, rocks, stairs, weather. But I knew two things - our guide would be there to help and, my tour mates were there to help. We were in this together. We assisted each other. And our tour guide never took us to a place he knew we weren't ready for. He kept us safe.

This is how to navigate through life.
This is G~d's plan.

Day by day we need to be on the bus - energized and ready. We do this by reading and studying His Torah - His Word and instruction for us.
We enjoy the passing scenery - take in the view. Our family and friends are with us. We take our time day by day.
When we stop and get off the bus for a specific destination, we can be assured that our Tour Guide is right beside us with information, instruction and protection. Sometimes we're called to a specific task or challenge.
And if we pay attention, we'll hear when to get back on the bus. We can relax in the journey and enjoy the tour.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Expectations and the Art of Reality

What happens when you work hard to create a masterpiece? You spend all your precious time, energy and genius on something. And then (insert rumble of thunder here) it's rejected. You have two paths to choose. You can either sit down in the mud and give up, or you can ... well, lets let Frank Sinatra tell us what we can do.
I had the experience this past weekend of pitching my book, Martha's Place, to a high quality literary agent. I produced my One Sheet and pitch with blood, sweat and tears. Okay, yes I'm exageratin' a bit. But there were a few missed hours of sleep. I was sure I had all the bases covered.
With a prayer and gulp of breath I marched into the room and for at least two minutes (I had 10 to get the job done) gave what I thought was my best hook and description of my characters. But he's been in the business for a looooong time more than I've been a writer. After he stopped me with a question or two, he spent the next eight minutes showing me how I should write my book and how my hook was not a hook at all. (For those of you who are scratching your heads and asking what the heck a hook is - it's that one or two sentences that make even an illiterate doof want to read your book.)
He did tell me he was intrigued with the story and liked it, BUT...
I walked out of the room thankful. Thankful that I survived and thankful that I still have my "rejected baby". "There, there. That bad man doesn't know what a beautiful, wonderful baby you really are!" Yeah a bit melodramatic ain't I.
All sarcastic dribble aside, I did come out of the experience for the better. I realized, I'm not ready for Prime Time - yet. Like a peach - if it's picked before it's ripe, the fruit is down right nasty to eat. I now have more time to polish and perfect. More time to create that masterpiece. I got eight minutes of coaching from one of the best in the business. How many unpublished writers can say that?
No - once again my heavenly Father knows what He's doing. He planned this whole excursion for me to see how expectation and reality can be friends.
Our paths are never smooth and free from rocks to trip on and holes to fall into. But when we go down - the trick is to get back up, brush ourselves off, and start all over again.