Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pictures

Hello friends,

it is summer time and the weather is heating up. I have had the pleasure of working for an Ag company as one of their field scouts. My job is to set insect traps for specific bugs and once a week I count the number of pest that have been trapped. It is a fun job I work four days a week and travel almost 500 miles in those four short days. I have seen some pretty cool things.  Below is the latest of interesting things. A mother dove chose one of my traps to build her nest and lay eggs on. When I found the nest there was already an egg. I decided to let it go and below you can see the results.





 
Here is a picture of an almond tree in the grip of winter. What's weird is this is in California and it never
Freezes here. Or does it?
 
 
That's all for now, I'll post more as they are found.
 
See you later
 
Cliff
 
 
 

You Are Enough


Hello friends, this post has been entered into the writing contest: You Are Enough, hosted by Positive Writer.

You are enough is a statement that carries a measure of subjective thought. The word bifurcates in meaning mostly by connotation. What is enough? When is there enough?  When I hear the word enough, I see my mother on a warm summer day stomp her foot and say “Enough” as her three boys argue over some injustice. Another obvious use that most of us can relate to occurs at the end of Thanksgiving dinner when offered another helping of gravy and mashed potatoes, hands go up in the air and the cry “enough!” is heard echoing through the house.

The basic idea of enough is there is no need for anything else, enough is enough. When applied to you as a writer the small three word phrase offers power and confidence to conquer any writing project that comes your way.  You have enough creativity, enough imagination and enough great ideas to be a successful writer. When faced with the daunting task of editing remember you are enough. When you hit the wall of silence you are enough to scale it and conquer the citadel of beginning, middle and end.

We all need a good “Let’s Go Team” once in a while, but a good dose of reality is important as well. The reality is that life will hand us failure and adversity. Every day of the year since the beginning of time people have failed at task performed and life in general. Businesses go under, buildings burn and rejection letters clog the postal system. However failure is not the last word. There are a dozen platitudes to emphasize the importance of never giving up. The point is “Never Give Up”.

We all know Michael Jordan as one of the best Basketball players in the history of the game, but may not be aware that his path to glory was not always easy. In high School he was told he was too short to play basketball. But instead of giving up he used the negative to drive him to greatness. He is quoted as saying, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”  In his own way he told himself that he was enough. (http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/galleries/9-famous-people-who-overcame-major-failure.aspx?p=4)

Dr. Seuss the well know children’s author received twenty seven rejections for his first book before it was finally published. He is quoted as saying, “And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed).” Dr. Seuss is no longer with us but were he alive I think he would agree that “You are enough”.(http://www.beliefnet.com/inspiration/galleries/9-famous-people-who-overcame-major-failure.aspx?p=10)

My fellow writers, we are as different as the flurry of snowflakes in a January storm, yet we are united by the same daunting task of putting meaningful words on the blank page. It is time we unite and our battle cry will be “You are enough”. Right now take a blank piece of paper and in an act of defiance write in bold block letters, You Are Enough. Tack it on the wall and anytime the internal critic accuses you of being a want-a-be, look at the moto and tell yourself that you are enough to handle any task that faces you. Personalize it and say it until you believe it, I am enough. I am enough to build believable character. I am enough to show and limit my telling. I am enough to write in a way that people long to read my material. Always remember a writer writes, so write away my friends because you are enough to finish any project you start.
 

Friday, February 16, 2018

Happy New Year



Happy New Year,

It is the middle of February and this is the first post of 2018. Lots of reasons but no excuse for not posting sooner. Tomorrow I am attending a writing conference in Livermore CA. I attended a two day class last year at the same location. I wrote about it in February of last year. This year is a one day course intended for more advanced writers. I do not consider myself advanced, but I am serious about learning and have a goal of publishing. If this year is anything like last year it should be very informative and helpful in the advancement of my writing career.

I will, Lord willing, give and outline of what I learned this year after the conference is over. I can say without any reservation that if you are a Christian writer and are serious about your craft, these conferences are the place for you to be. Compared to many conferences I have come across, they are very affordable. Last year was the first conference I had the pleasure of attending. I plan on making this a regular routine.  For more information you can go to the website (westcoastchristianwriters.com) and find out more about upcoming conferences and other opportunities that are available.

 Tell a friend about this blog. www.writetheway.com. There is more to come this year in the way of encouraging articles and update on my books. I am currently working a historical adventure that takes place in 1860, called Cherokee Clay. More about that later.

God Bless and keep writing
 
Cliff

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

November, what a month!



Welcome friends,

The month of November is all but over. It was a good month for my wife and I. It was a month filled with travel, good food and writing, lots and lots of writing, and some sadness, and much joy. My wife and I have been looking forward to this month for close to two years. We bought our trailer in April of 2015 and soon after getting used to hauling, backing, cleaning and all of the other details of trailering we decided that we needed to make a big trip. So we made plans to travel to Arizona on our annual pilgrimage to see her mother and other relatives.

It took a year and half to build up the confidence and money to make the trip. Our original planes were to spend a month in an RV park near the town of Benson Arizona. Her mother lived in the small community of Pomerene Arizona. The reservations were made and we began to gear ourselves up for the trip which was never to happen. Shortly after we made the reservations my mother in law passed away. It was sudden and tragic and we all had a difficult time with it. After her death our plans were shelved. We even decided that we were not going to Arizona at all because it would be too painful.

Time has a way of dulling the pain of tragic events. A few months after her mother died we felt as though a trip to Arizona would be healing and would give us a certain amount of closure. But we changed locations. My wife is the best when it comes to doing research on RV Parks and came up with a park near the town of Camp Verde. It is called Zane Gray RV Park. We booked it from the middle of October to the middle of November. The only downer to the trip was that my son and daughter in law where having their third baby, and we would not be there to witness his birth. Yes, we knew that he was a boy and his name was already picked out. Daxon Cort Mansfield was to be born sometime in the middle of November. We promised to be back as soon as we could and give all of the attention we could when we returned.

The day finaly arrived and at 0600 we headed out to Camp Verde Arizona, excited and nervous, but ready to travel. We broke the trip into halves. The first half was from Escalon to Barstow where we stayed at a KOA near the Calico Mine and Hinkley the town Erin Brockovich put on the map. We pulled into the KOA at around 3:00pm and it was in the high 90’s. The evening was uneventful and we pulled out the next morning at 0600 on the second half of the journey. Arriving at the Zane Gray RV Park around 3:00 pm we backed into space 92 and gave each other a high five.

Our time was cut short because Daxon was in a breech position and Jill was scheduled to have a C-section on the 7th of November. Though our plans were changed we still were elated to have made the journey and was able to spend time with family. Mark and Denise, Gregg and Linda, Mike and Kim and Darlene and Ron, thank you all for making our trip very special. We were sad that we could not see Kitty, Sheila’s mom but felt like we could dedicate the trip to her. She was a wonderful women and will be missed.

So that is the trip, the sadness, the food, and the Joy the writing started on November 1st via Nanowrimo. No that is not a foreign language. It stands for the national Novel Writing Month. Google it if you have never heard of it. If you have ever wanted to write a book, it is a good thing to get started in. This is the fourth year I have taken part in it. The goal is to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. This will get you on the way to creating a book. It is a sobering lesson to learn that even though you write thousands of words and create a story there will not be a book until you have done hours and hours of editing. I have admitted in another article on this blog that I do not like editing, it is the hardest part of writing. It is also the most important part of writing.

Today is the 28th of November and I just wrote 50,217 words and completed the task. I still have another ten thousand or so before I have an ending, but I think I will give it a rest. I have another novel that I postponed for Nanowrimo and I will pick it up and finish it this next month. I hope to post excerpts of the book in the next few months. Well that was my November in a nut shell, and I wrote way to much as my wife is quick to add. But hey it is what it is.

God Bless and keep writing

 

Cliff

Friday, September 1, 2017

God Is Good


Walking daily with the living God of the Bible is not always an easy task. I feel your stare of doubt, but hear me out. There are times when he will lead you to places you would prefer not to go. Sometimes there will be a shimmering wall of fear and doubt that you must walk through. When you close your eyes and walk forward by faith and not by sight you will find that the path He chose was necessary for your growth in Him. Sometimes you may just fall down on your knees and humble yourself before the living God and cry out for strength before you are able to take that first step into the realm of the unknown. Whatever it takes you must do it. Christian, God is faithful and loves you more than you know. He has a perfect plan for you, trust him, and follow Him where he leads.

 Seeker, if you have stumbled on to this page and are reading out of curiosity, the emptiness you feel inside is a God shaped hole that can only be filled with Jesus Christ. The hole was created by sin. The bible tells us that we have all sinned and fallen short of Gods glory, and that the wages of sin is eternal death. That is the bad news, the good news is that God loves you and has made a way for you to escape eternal death. The way is Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the living God of the bible. Simply by believing that Jesus died for your sins, and placing your trust in Him you will be saved. That is the beginning of a new life. There is a link on the upper right hand corner of this page called Gods Simple Plan that will answer questions and present the plan of salvation. Send me a note if you make a decision for Christ.

God is good, live for Him.



Cliff

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

West Coast Christian Writers Conference



Hello All,

God is good! I had an epic time at the West Coast Christian Writers Conference in February. I met Christian writers from all over the globe. The Key note speakers were inspiring, and the classes gave me the boost of encouragement I needed to continue writing.  If you have not been to a Writers conference I recommend this conference. It was in fact my first writer’s conference, and I was not disappointed. The cost was affordable (I took advantage of the early bird special) and the atmosphere was Christ centered.

There were two key-note speakers, Michele Cushatt and Tosca Lee. Both are authors and public speakers. Michele’s testimony and life experience touched and inspired me to move past the disappointments of life, and cling to the promises that God has given us. He will be with us no matter what we go through. He is our strength, and He is our hope. Her web site is www.michelecushatt.com. I encourage you to visit her site. Michele spoke at the closing segment. She used Moses to illustrate how God sets people apart for specific things to do and prepares them for those jobs

At the end of her presentation she had us take our shoes off and visualize that we are standing on Holy Ground. The world desperately needs to know there is a mighty God who loves them and we must get the message out. Each of our feet and the legs that support us represent Gods Presence and Gods Purpose. She focused on the burning bush and how it was full of fire but not consumed, when we walk in Gods purpose and presence we will not be consumed.

Tosca Lee is a New York Times best seller. She has co-authored several books with Ted Dekker. Her web site is toscalee.com. She writes very interesting books with titles like, Demon, Iscariot, and the Progeny. As of yet I have not read her books. I plan on starting with her first book entitled Havah, the story of Eve. I read the teaser on Amazon, her writing is what you would expect from a NYT best seller. I am not sure this is her first book, but I believe it to be one of her earlier works. One take-away for me is the things in our life that set us apart from others and may even be considered as weird are actually our Super-Powers.  We should embrace the differences in our life and capitalize on them. She gives three cautions that come with our super powers:

1.       You shall not covet someone else’s super powers

2.       Own your super power, make it special and yours

3.       With great power comes great responsibility, use your power carefully.

Another thought that resonated with me is that God has poured a certain amount of talent into all of us. It is our responsibility to make that investment in us grow. Do not be like the man in scripture with one talent who hid it. Use your gifts for God’s Glory.

These presentations are a smattering of what was dished out over the course of two days. I attended 6 classes plus the four group gatherings where Michele and Tosca shared. If you are a Christian Writer or if you would like to know more about being a Christian writer there is a group dedicated to helping you be the best you can be. It is called Inspire Christian Writers. It is only fifty dollars a year. The web site is Inspirewriters.com. Check it out, who knows there may be a writer in side of you waiting to get out.

One last note, the ages of those attending were from teenagers to those in there nineties. You are never too old to start writing. The majority of the people I met were writing memoirs. One man I met was a survivor of the Killing Fields of Cambodia. He gave me the first chapter and offered to show me pictures from the Killing fields. More on that later. Thanks for coming by, Never stop learning and never stop seeking His perfect will in your life.

By his Grace, For His Glory

Cliff

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Happy February




 

Happy February,


     I hope this post finds you well and excited about the New Year.  This month I go to my first writer’s conference. I am looking forward to rubbing shoulders with real writers, maybe some of the good stuff will rub off on me. In the November post I mentioned that I was working on a project I started over ten years ago. I began writing the story while flying to Texas for a company school. The idea came to me as I was flying over the Arizona desert. I thought what if I were stranded in the desert, how would I survive. The obvious title was Survival. But, as with most of the stories I have written since, it turned in to something different than my original plan. I believe there are a few chapter of it posted on this blog. It is the first story that I started and completed a beginning middle and end. It is not finished and polished because it requires a complete rewrite.


       I kept going back to it because there are some very good scenes and I became fond of my main character, Felix Carver. But, I decided to put this one in the drawer for a while longer. The number one reason is, and I am a little bit embarrassed by it, (confession is good for the soul, so they say) I hate editing! I am terrible at it and it makes my head hurt. So for that reason I have decided to move on to my third book, (the second book is in the percolating stage, I am stuck). I started this one a few years ago. It has less problems and will be easier to spruce up. I have had some good comments about it from my critique group so I have decided to take this one all the way to publishing. My goal is to have it completed by October. The title is Cherokee Clay. It is about a young man who was born to a Cherokee Mother and English father, and takes place in the mid 1800’s shortly after the forced removal of the Cherokee nation.

     The research has been fun and very eye opening. The most amazing part of the history of the Cherokee is there overall endurance and perseverance in reaching their corporate dreams. They were one of the Five Civilized Tribes.

     The Five Civilized Tribes is the term applied to five American Indian (Native American) nations: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. These tribes were considered civilized because they adapted to the influx of whites by adopting many of our ways, such as building schools, developing city government, and many Cherokee wore the clothes of the white man. This was in no way a sign of weakness but demonstrates the built in adaptability of the Cherokee. They were grossly taken advantage of by our government in a way that staggers the imagination. They were forcibly removed from their land and relocated in a foreign place where they were not wanted. The trip from Georgia to Oklahoma is called the Trail of Tears. Over 3000 died from starvation and the elements. If you have never read anything about the force removal of the Five Civilized Tribes, it is well worth the effort to do a little research.

     The theme of Cherokee Clay is forgiveness, and moving past hurt to reach attainable goals. The genre is Christian Adventure. I have had a blast writing this one. I might even take a trip to see first-hand where the Trail of Tears started in the name of research. Stay tuned to this channel, I plan on pasting a few chapters of the book on this blog. Next month I will give a brief report on the writers conference. Until then God Bless and Live for Him!



Cliff