My Monster

Guest Blogs for Mary E. Twomey, author of Saga of the Spheres.

Writing is a strange monster. Gorgeous, unpredictable, terrifying, and precious. One moment you love what you’re into, the next you’re swearing you should scrap it all and declare yourself an illiterate just so expectations can be lowered. Learning to spell your name would become a note-worthy feat. “Wow! You did it yourself? Amazing! Sit down and take a rest. Have a cookie, you smart bunny.” Alas, with an English degree, more is expected of you when the pen hits the paper. If it’s not Shakespeare, and if you don’t use fanciful words like “alas”, then it must simply not be worth anyone’s time, lease of all yours.

This kind of thinking led me to deleted documents, trashed notebooks, abandoned plots and a total tailspin. If it wasn’t completely hatched and grown gracefully into an adult by the end of the page, it was obviously a failure. A plot that wasn’t complete before the first word was scribbled was a waste. Being a notorious math class disappointment led me to the conclusion that if you don’t have the right answer – all the right answers – it’s best to keep your mouth shut and your head down. Mistakes are for people who will never find the solution, and wrong guesses are for people who should find a new calling.

Oh, Mary. Silly Mary.

Oh, you reader. Silly you.

Today I write to encourage you to stop judging your imperfections. It’s odd that we are often the first one to cast the stone at ourselves. We’ll be amazingly polite and kind to others, but when it comes to giving grace to the person with the funky morning hair in the mirror, we plum run out of mercy just about every time. You would never tell your husband or your best girl friend, “What a stupid idea. That’ll never work. Look how many things you still have to figure out. Best just watch TV and leave the high heels to the big girls.”

Fortunately for all of us, today is a new day. Today we will be different. We will be kind to ourselves. We will look in the mirror and believe the things our loved ones say about us. We will trust our ridiculous ideas and not shoot them down just because they are ours. Today we take ourselves seriously and give an honest effort to becoming that person who can see the possibilities.

A funny thing dawned on me in the midst of writing and editing the Saga of the Spheres. I allowed the ink to flow for fun. I did not write for other people. I did not plot for the masses. I wrote, laughed, swooned, and bit my lip as an unknown world shifted into focus on the page. I’m very excited to share the keepers, the seers, the spheres and the wombats with you. My hope is that you find your own possibility, take the first step, and then start running.

 

Mary E. Twomey

The Silence of Lir

By Mary Twomey

ASIN: B0087LX826  $2.99

Book One

Genre: young adult fantasy fiction

Behind the scenes of our spinning earth are keepers of the elements who make sure that tornadoes don’t destroy cities, fires don’t ravage forests, earthquakes don’t decimate towns, and floods don’t take out humanity. They wrestle with the natural elements to ensure that the world keeps spinning smoothly on its axis.

Since the beginning of time, the Sun has been fading, and the light that shines on the earth is dimming, causing the elements to be more volatile and impossible for the keepers to control.

Now they must enlist the help of one man, Finn, to help them bring the light back to the Sun. The keepers war, the North Star steals light from the Sun, and the Moon is in disrepute. The end of existence is coming, and all the while the king, the Moon, Lir, remains silent.

About the Author:

Mary E. Twomey lives in Michigan with her husband and two adorable children. She enjoys reading, writing, vegetarian cooking and telling her children fantastic stories about wombats.

Connect with Mary:

www.facebook.com/#!/SagaOfTheSpheres

Twitter @shesleepssoftly

www.SagaOfTheSpheres.com

www.JackandYani.com

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Of Waterpots and New Wine

By Staci Stallings

And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and Jesus was also invited, and His disciples, to the wedding.  And when the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."  And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what do I have to do with you? My hour has not yet come."  His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He says to you, do it."  Now there were six stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification...  John 2: 1-6

There is more of course, but for our purposes we will stop right there. You’ve probably heard this story more times than you can count. It is of course the story of Jesus’ first miracle when He changed water into wine.  And not just any wine, no, the best wine. That lesson is for another article, for now I want to focus on the final eleven words of this passage.

Specifically I want to ask you to reread the passage and look closely at what kind of pots they used.  In my previous reading of this passage, I had always pictured... well, pitchers.  Large earthenware vessels that look like modern day vases. You know the kind you would normally put wine into. But that's NOT what it says!  NO.  They put it in "stone waterpots set there for the Jewish custom of purification."  In the Message Bible it says it this way... "six stone pots, used by the Jews for ritual washings..."  Do you know what that means?

Very simply, those pots were used to enforce and carry out the rules, the law, the prescribed way of purifying yourself so you were clean enough to be presentable to society.  Ritual washings were one of the biggest outward signs that someone was steeped in the rules of the Jews.  There was a prescribed amount of time you had to wash, a prescribed amount of times you had to wash... And Jesus used those pots to do something totally new!

On top of that, the ritual washings were meant to show one's attempt to wash away their sin and thus be pure. (If I wash myself enough, if I follow all of the rules, I shall be clean in the eyes of God). But the reality was, people were still dirty.  Their bodies were dirty. Their hands were dirty. Their lives were dirty with sins they could not get rid of no matter how many times they washed themselves. And even when they washed, they got dirty again and thus had to wash again.

And Jesus (isn’t He awesome?) used the pots that had been used to wash people, pots that symbolize us and our lives (dirty and nasty) to put drinking wine in.  That is not just a little inconsequential detail!  That's huge!

In fact, upon closer reading, it does not even say that Jesus first said, “Take those waterpots and wash them out, clean them out, and then fill them.”  No. He said, “Go and fill them.”  In all the times you have read and heard this passage, have you ever for a second pictured those servants as taking the time to go and wash out the pots on their own? 

I haven’t because prior to really reading this, I hadn’t seen the need for them to. However, at the risk of your lunch, consider what they did.  Guests had washed themselves with water from these pots. Surely some of the grime went back in them as they finished.  We don’t know how many guests there were, but I have always pictured a rather large contingent of guests.  At very least we know of fourteen, Jesus, the disciples, and Mary. At minimum, that’s 28 hands, four for each pot, that have recently been washed in them. Now, Jesus says, “Go and fill those with water,” and presumably without the benefit of Dawn Dishwashing Liquid, these pots were filled with water.

Then Jesus said, “Draw some out now, and take it to the headwaiter.”

Something tells me, if I was one of those servants, I wouldn’t have had the guts to tell the headwaiter what kind of receptacles that wine came from. Of course, we all know that the headwaiter proclaimed that this wine was the finest of wines.

So, consider that in one moment, Christ took us, these waterpots, empty yes, but permanently stained with the dirt of many hands. We had been steeped in the myth that our own actions could somehow wash us clean enough to gain entrance into Heaven. He took these empty, dirty, disgusting waterpots, and He poured Himself (His blood--water made wine) into us, and then he did something new!  Not just new wine. The BEST wine!  Not the rules.  Not our sins.  Him.  And He is enough to make us THE BEST!

Believe me, I will never mistake those waterpots for pitchers again, nor will I so easily take for granted the mercy and grace He poured into me, dirty from within with no hope to ever get myself clean enough to earn anything. He did not require me to clean up before He washed me with Himself. He didn’t look at me and say, “Ew, disgusting. Let’s use something else.”

Instead, He looked at me and saw not what I had done and what I was but at what He could do inside of me. That’s the new wine—what He can do in a life, and trust me, it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted, poor dirty waterpot that you were before He showed up.

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2006

FREE ON KINDLE TWO DAYS ONLY!

August 15 & 16

Staci’s “Amazing!” novel:

To Protect & Serve

“Reading To Protect & Serve, I’m taken away to another world, a world I want to be a part of and never leave. Staci’s characters are real with real everyday problems. I love that.

Oh, and the firemen in this story, they’re smokin’ hot! Especially the hero!”

–Debra, Amazon Reviewer

When control freak Lisa Matheson falls for handsome but shy firefighter, Jeff Taylor, it’s possible that life might just be going her way for a change. The only problem is she can’t control Jeff or the death wish he seems to have…

Available as a free download from Amazon!

Click here to get your Free Kindle Copy TODAY!

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