Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When God's Voice Sounds a Lot Like Vonda Skelton's

by Cathy Baker

I’d always expected God’s voice to possess a thunderous tone, but oddly enough, it sounded much like Vonda Skelton’s last Thursday morning as she shared the devotion during our Cross N’ Pens meeting.

Vonda began by talking about the number of rejections she’d received before her first publication. Anyone in the room who had written for any length of time could relate in that moment.

She shared how Apostle Paul had suffered numerous rejections during his missionary journeys, and yet, he let nothing deter his calling. For example, even after miles of strenuous travel and aggravating circumstances required to preach the one true gospel, he discovered that many accepted it, while others rejected it. Neither distracted him from moving forward.

On our writing journey, we will probably receive both rejections and accolades. Regardless of the outcome, we learn from Paul that we shouldn’t take either too personal. When the rejections come, we can “dust off” the computer keys, much like Paul dusted off his sandals after being beaten and thrown out of the city.

So, what project are you working on next?

During Paul’s second missionary journey, the Holy Spirit stopped him and Barnabas, altered their plans, and re-directed their path.

As Vonda pointed out, it wasn’t an experience or circumstances that veered Paul in a different direction. It was the Holy Spirit. And the beautiful part of this story is that the Holy Spirit didn’t put up the roadblock to deter Paul and Barnabas from moving forward. Rather, the obstruction helped move them in the right direction - one of God’s choosing and for their ultimate good.  

Sometimes what seem like roadblocks, closed doors, or unanswered prayers can come in the form of a rejection letter, third place instead of first in a contest, or not having all the questions answered on this journey. And yet, many times it’s these so-called roadblocks that God uses as a catalyst to teach us something new, or take us to a place (physically, spiritually, or emotionally) we would’ve never traveled otherwise.

Paul continued to experience rejections throughout his journeys, but he never let them define him or his calling. Vonda shared how Paul was called to write letters. Seemingly simple letters. When he etched words on parchment, little did he know that one day those divinely inspired words would become part of the New Testament. Paul was faithful to His calling. He never gave up, even when things didn’t unfold as he might have planned.

Just because you’re not published doesn’t mean you’re not doing the work of the Lord.

Just because your calling looks different than you might have expected doesn’t mean that you’re not in God’s will.

The above phrases from Vonda stopped me in my tracks. My pen couldn’t gulp enough ink as I tried writing everything down word for word. Why? Because that was God talking to me, although it sounded a lot like Vonda. For only He knew the struggle going on within me – the struggle to find my focus when it comes to writing and blogging. I love writing. It is my calling for this season in life, but without focus it’s easy to feel like a lost pup.

Maybe I wasn’t alone in my struggle that morning, or perhaps God spoke to others through the devotion in a different way. All I know is that I’m thankful God chose Vonda’s voice to deliver it, because I can’t imagine it being filtered through a sweeter spirit than hers.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

2015 Fall Writing Contest

2015 Annual Cross N Pens Writing Contest

This year’s prompt is especially fun and challenging. Use the following photo (courtesy of our very own Mary Denman) as your inspiration for:

• A piece of fiction (Who’s there? Who’s not? Why or why not? What’s happening?) 
• A devotion (Does this scene bring to mind a lesson, principle, word of encouragement?)
• A piece of creative nonfiction, personal narrative or essay. (Does the photo elicit a mood, emotion, or memory of a time in your life when . . .? Does it suggest an idea you want to explore?)

Unleash your creative self in any way you want (no poetry though, please). The contest is open to Cross N Pen members. Winners and prizes will be announced at the December meeting. 

Submission guidelines:
  • 700 words or fewer, 
  • 12 pt. font
  • Times New Roman font style
  • double-spaced lines
  • Put the title, genre, word count, and your name in the top left corner.

Entries will be judged on creative response, well-crafted content, and general mechanics. 

Send to by Tuesday, December 1.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October Meeting

Our monthly writer's meeting is this Thursday, October 8th. There's a lot happening so be sure to attend. This Thursday we'll be
  • Announcing the new Cross N Pens president,
  • Opening the new Cross N Pens Library,
  • Sharing some great writer successes,
  • and giving you the opportunity to register for the Fall Creativity Workshop. (See the post just below this one for more details.)
As always we'll have our standard meeting elements including a devotion, book review, and writing critiques.

See our Meetings Page for meeting location and directions.
See our Critique Guidelines page for more information on what to expect during critique time. Max word count is 1500 words.

See you Thursday!