Discovering Gold in Your Writing

"Prospector Man" and Pam Martin
“Thar’s gold in them thar hills!” During a recent mining expedition, I not only acquired real gold but gleaned some writing nuggets as well.

The Thermal City Gold Mine located in Rutherford County, North Carolina was our destination. Well-known for its authenticity, my son and I were excited about prospecting for gold.

Other enthusiastic families joined us in the hunt. However, a couple of hours into our dig, our youngest ones lost interest. They found more joy playing in the dirt.

Eventually, someone found a flake of gold. Yeah! I wanted to find gold! I picked up another handful of sediment and plopped it in my miner’s pan. Sloshing it back and forth in the water, just like the prospecting mentor taught us. Slosh, slush, slosh, slush. Nothing.

Another shout came from a gold-finder. It wasn’t I. One by one, almost everyone in our crowd found gold. I was happy for them. I wanted to be happy for me too. Slosh, slush, slosh, slush over and over again. Then I hit gold!

My yippee soon turned to an awww. It was just a flashy piece of mica. Slosh, slush, slosh, slush. Finally, there it was. I could hardly contain my excitement as I showed it to Mr. Prospector-Man. No flashy mica this time. He swirled it around in the pan a few times then told me to dump it. Whatever was in there was probably fool’s gold. I had been deceived again.

Slosh, slush, slosh, slush. The only thing the muddy water was producing for me was a cooling element from the sun. Frustration was setting in. Hours had passed and not a speck of gold. It was time for a lunch break.

The food and fellowship were great. There was renewed energy. After lunch, we worked together panning sediment that had gone through a filtering machine. Whatever gold, found in this sediment, would be divided equally among us.

As I stood there sloshing and slushing, I realized writing is similar to panning for gold.

·         It takes hours of work before you produce anything that has value. Then it takes many more hours to achieve your next golden nugget (which could be the next chapter or just the next sentence!)

·         It’s easy to get frustrated especially if others around you are celebrating success. While you rejoice with them, you still want your hard work to pay off and produce something awesome too.

·         It’s easy to get distracted with flashy words. Writers can become disillusioned with their work, thinking it is perfect when it’s not.

·         Don’t linger too long in the slush. Be thorough. Make steady progress. Realize when something you’re writing isn’t working. Dump it and start fresh.

·         Know when to take a break. It’s a valuable asset.

·         It helps to work with others, especially those who are skilled in the business. They have a keen eye that comes from years of experience. Learn from them.

Gold found at Thermal City Gold Mine
A collaboration of my friends enabled me to take home a small vial of gold nuggets, er...flakes. The gold didn’t bring me wealth but I’d say the experience was enriching.

Slosh, slush, slosh, slush.

How about you?
What nuggets have you gleaned from seasoned writers?





John Tesh Concert:Talent, Testimonies and T-Shirts

My sweet hubby and I recently attended a John Tesh concert at Isothermal Community College. This was our first time hearing John Tesh and his touring ensemble. We were enthralled.

John Tesh performs at The Foundation in NC
Kicking off the concert was the web master for www.tesh.com. This guy had the voice and enthusiasm of a high school cheerleader. He pumped up the crowd about the website and a special promotion for the evening. If the words “tesh.com” were mentioned, and if the crowd cheered, the web master would appear and throw T-shirts out to the crowd.

A great deal of laughter ensued after he explained his limited budget. Apparently, he made the T-shirts himself. They were Fruit of the Loom, large, white, men’s T-shirts. He said all the band members autographed each one and not to wash it or you'd end up with a plain, white shirt. Simple, cheap and everyone wanted one!

John Tesh came on stage, talked a little and mentioned tesh.com three times.

The first shirt went to an eleven-year-old girl. It was her birthday and later she was asked on stage to assist Tesh and the band. She was a sweetheart and nearly stole the show!

The second shirt was thrown somewhere in the back of the auditorium. My husband and I were sitting in the front row of the balcony. Tesh told the guy not to throw it toward the balcony for fear of someone falling over. The cheerleader took it as a challenge and propelled it through the air with all his strength. It looked as if it would almost make it to the balcony…and it did, right to my husband. Woo Hoo!

The Chase High band members were sitting behind us. While the shirt was flying through the air, their squeals of eager anticipation nose-dived to a low moan when the shirt stopped just beyond their reach. The kids didn’t get the shirt but they sure did enjoy the show.

John Tesh and his band were phenomenal. The entire evening they pumped out vibrant music. A few selections were velvety smooth throughout but most had a jazzy kick. The elderly man to my left was dancing around in his seat as much as the teens behind me!

The toe-tapping, thigh slapping music was intermingled with Tesh’s thoughts and sentiments. His easy-going style quickly drew the audience into his circle of friends.

My husband especially connected with Tesh’s comments on telling his kids to put away their cell phones when eating dinner. That’s a rule in our family too.

We also liked hearing Tesh proclaim his love for his wife Connie, and how she drew him back to his faith twenty-two years ago. Faith and family seems to be the well where his heart and music springs forth.

Hearing many familiar tunes, we were surprised to learn John Tesh wrote several of them. We loved hearing the stories of how the songs originated, especially the humorous one about the NBA theme song.

If John Tesh comes back this way again, we’ll be there. Loved it all, with no complaints. Well, I do have one. There were twelve in the band and our T-shirt had only eight autographs. Somebody (as Tesh says) took a “tinkle break” and forgot to sign. Nonetheless, we're really happy with the "home-made" shirt!

Let's hear from the rest of you.
Faith and family drives John Tesh. What brings forth your creative spirit?



37,854 Liters of Spit & Other Things You Need to Know About the Mouth God Gave You

       18,927 two-liter drink bottles…that’s how much saliva one person produces in a lifetime. That’s 37,854 liters of spit. You need that saliva to swallow but you also need it in order for your 9,000 taste buds to work.
     Crazy stuff like this amazes me. It’s not just the numbers; it’s that there is a God, so infinitely wise and indescribably creative!
     You have to admit, the tongue is one of our most unusual muscles. It’s the only muscle in the body attached at one end only. Although our sense of taste is the weakest of our five senses, that wagging muscle has a lot of power.

     Three hundred and ninety-five verses, specifically about the mouth, are in the Bible. There's one hundred and fifty more just about the tongue. This doesn’t include verses about speaking, praying, lying or cursing. Think how many things you do with your mouth. God knew we would need a lot of guidance with this body part.
     The tongue is the strongest muscle in your body, relative to size. Just to speak you have to flex 72 muscles. What kind of workout are you giving your mouth? Are you building up or tearing down?

“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?
Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.
All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse.
 To the discerning, all of them are right;
they are faultless to those who have knowledge.”
Proverbs 8:1, 6-9 (NIV) 

     When God created you, he had a unique purpose in mind. Just as you have an inimitable fingerprint; God also gave you an exclusive tongue print. Think about that. Why would God do that?

    Of course, you are one of a kind from head to toe, but focus for a minute on why God gave you the mouth he did. Perhaps he wants you to be different. Perhaps he wants you to speak, sing, pray, teach, encourage, all those things in a way that only you can.
     Speak boldly for Christ when no one else will. Sing praises when everyone expects the opposite. Teach the Truth in places people say you cannot. Encourage others when everyone else has given up.

     What is God’s special calling for your mouth?
     It's not just for spit.



Running in the Rain

A sudden rain sliced into our hot afternoon, bringing a welcome division between the heat of the workday and a peaceful dusk. Standing on the front porch with my husband and our little boy, we listened to the downpour. There was no thunder or lightning, just the wonderful sound of cooling rain.

“You ever run in the rain?” I asked Zachary.

“No,” he answered, with a heavy undertone of you’re crazy.

“Go on, it’s fun.”

“No,” he said, but I could tell he was considering it by the smile he was desperately trying to hide.

“When your sisters were your age, they ran in the rain all the time. If it’s not thundering or lightening, it’s safe. Want me to go get Emily to run with you?”

“She won’t go,” said my husband. “She’s probably on the phone.”

I went inside and talked to Emily. She’s always been an adventure-sort of girl but we realize she’s now eighteen and growing up.

“I’ll be out in just a minute,” she called from behind her bedroom door.

I picked up my camera on the way out, just in case a Kodak (well, Canon) moment happened.

Walking back out to the porch, I found the guys still mesmerized by the waterfall.

“Is she coming?”

“Says she is.”

Waiting for her to come out the front door, we heard a whoop from the side of the house. Another whoop later and Emily came running around the house in the rain. My eighteen year old has not lost her spunk.

That was all it took for Zachary. He wasn’t about to let her have all the fun. They took off for a few laps around the house. I could hear Emily squealing all the way. Zachary was probably laughing too hard to squeal.  Puddle splashing was then followed by raindrop drinking.

I’m snapping pictures and just when I was about to get towels, I hear another whoop. Turning around, I see my husband has pulled off his shirt and has ignited another race around the house!

Soaking wet mess? Yes. Spontaneous fun? Oh yeah. Cherished memory forever? Absolutely.

 What about you? Afraid to get your feet wet and try something new? Is God calling you to do something you think is a little out there? If you hear Him calling, go! Get out there before you miss the joy.

Is there someone who needs to see your faith still has spunk? Can they see your joy even when life gets a little slippery? Drenched in tests and trials, do they see you still looking up to Him and praising Him in the rain? Are people hearing your delight as you run life’s race?