Sunday Bests // Red Tie in the Morning

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When I first put this outfit together, it was missing something, and it wasn’t until I walked past my brother’s tie collection that a bell chimed in my head. A tie! That’s what this jacket needs! I threw a red one around my neck, changed my shoes and purse to match, and ran out the door for church. At a reception afterward, a dear older man said that my outfit reminded him of a retro airline stewardess! I thought that was such a nice thing to say!

This “stewardess” outfit consists of mostly things that aren’t mine! The tie is my brother’s, the shoes are my sisters, and the skirt was sewn by my mom over 30 years ago. So now you know: I’m a clothes thief! However, the blouse and jacket are mine; they were gifts found at a thrift store. So I guess this outfit is even more special considering it didn’t cost me a cent! 

To go along with my post title, I’ve decided to include the old saying:

“Red sky at night,

Sailor’s delight.

Red sky in morning,

Sailor’s warning.”

It seems like I’ve known this little saying forever. Looking up at a blazing sky was a sign that tomorrow would be a beautiful day! What I didn’t know all those years, was that this little saying comes from the Bible! In the first book of the New Testament, Jesus was talking with the Pharisees and the Sadducees (leaders of the Jewish church). In Matthew 16:2-3 it says, “He answered and said unto them, when it is evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” KJV

In my own words, Jesus basically said, “You can know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow by looking at the sky, but you can’t figure out what is going to happen in the future by looking at the past?”

Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus said this, and it is still entirely true in today’s modern world of complex technology. Weather forecasters have all these instruments and devices to predict the weather, which they broadcast all across the country. If we are so proficient in the weather in that we can know the exact percentage of tomorrow’s precipitation, why is not everyone capable of looking at past history and learning from it? We can detect, or as Jesus says, discern, the future by looking at the past. History is forever repeating itself, so why not use our own brains to research it and use our knowledge to better the future? We each hold the brainpower to learn and to discern. I, personally, love history, though I know many people who have pledged their hearts against it. But history is not just all about dates and names. It’s about stories, great legends, and the lives of our very own ancestors!

Let’s not forget how smart we can be,

when we learn from our history!

Ok, I’m done my rant now! Until next time, faithful readers, carry on!

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skirt // made by my mom

jacket // thrifted

blouse // thrifted

tie // my brother’s

shoes // payless (my sister’s)

purse // thrifted

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Do you like the little red sky saying?
Did you know that it is from the Bible?
What do you think about learning from history?
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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 40th Week

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This quote comes from L. M. Montgomery’s 1908 novel, Anne of Green Gables, one of the most beloved stories in English literature. The book has put Prince Edward Island on the map and has transformed it into a popular Canadian tourist destination. From the famous red cliffs to the rolling sand dunes to the flawless fields of green, P.E.I. is a picture-perfect backdrop for one of the world’s most treasured books.

I’ve always thought of October, the transition into fall, as antagonizing. It arrives after the late lingering warmth of September, and rudely parks itself on my doorstep for thirty-one long days, making it unbearable to go outside without a jacket! As Stephanie Tanner so often said, “How rude!”

There’s something about October that changes a person. Each time it rolls around, I have to readjust to it. October brings crisp weather and withering trees, boldly reminding me that summer has slipped through my fingers and winter is assuredly looming in the distance (at least for the top half of the earth).

However, this quote from L.M.M. reminds me that October isn’t so bad after all. It’s actually quite enjoyable once you get to know it. October brings feelings that only that special month can bring. Nature seems to speak a different language, whispering ideas and inspiring thoughts, and encouraging me to visit new places, try new foods, and make new goals.

No matter what the weather, I should be thankful for any month I am given and enjoy the blessings that come with it. I will treasure October, try to make the most of it, and enjoy the many things it brings. Anne certainly would have been able to find the good things in it, so I can too. Together, let’s choose to say with Anne, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

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Do you like October?

Do you find that it arrives all too quickly?

Does October hold cold weather for you, or warm?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 39th Week

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George Gordon Byron, more commonly known as “Lord Byron” was born in 1788. He was a poet and politician, most famous for his 1819 narrative poem, “Don Juan.” He fell ill just before planning to attack the fortress of Lepanto, Greece in 1824 and died a few months later.

Laughter is like a magical antidote that has the power of medicine. It can temporarily set aside our worries and trouble and can even change our mood and the way we think. Laughter is massively powerful! Maybe that’s why there are so many sit-coms and comical movies out there. Laughter is contagious, but also a medicine.

Being grumpy for no reason at all won’t make us happy. If we have the chance to be happy, yet choose to be grumpy, we’re neither doing ourselves any favors, nor the people around us. We all fall into that ditch of being grumpy for no good reason sometimes, but luckily there is a cure! It is, like Byron says, cheap and easy to find. It’s laughter, of course, the funniest medicine of all time!

So when you have the chance to laugh, grab it, and use it like medicine to mend the hollows of everyday life! Choose to laugh rather than be grumpy and you’ll be a lot happier.

Proverbs 17:22a – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:” KJV

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Do you believe that laughter can be used as a medicine?

When was the last time laughter made you feel better?

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Megan Joy

Quote of the Week // 38th Week

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Samuel Johnson, born 308 years ago today in 1709, was an essayist, biographer, teacher, and poet, most well-known for his creation of the 1755 dictionary of the English language. He died at the age of seventy-five and was buried at Westminster Abby.

You can tell what a person is like by watching what they do and by the way they treat others. Sometimes, people treat others according to the condition or cost of their clothes, car, house, fame, and money. They treat them well because they assume they themselves will get something out of it. It could be something so small as someone holding a door open for a famous TV host, but not for a man in a dirty sweatshirt right behind him.

 If we treat people according to what they can do for us, we lose that common standard of kindness. We shouldn’t regulate our kindness towards others by their abilities to benefit our own lives. We need to treat all people like they were billionaires! Be kind and loving to everyone, even those who won’t benefit us in any way, because that is what we were all made to do.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 KJV

Ephesians 4:32: “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” KJV

These verses don’t say, “Love one another only if it benefits you.” God wants us to treat each other equally well, no matter how they appear or present themselves to us.  

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What are your thoughts on treatment towards others?

Would you open a door for someone who didn’t appear valuable for your own benefit?

How would you treat someone who could give you absolutely nothing in return?

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Megan Joy

Five Writing Misconceptions

Five Writing Misconceptions

Being a writer, I’ve gone to seminars and conferences, read countless writing books and articles, and was given advice by real authors on how to make my books the best that they could be. I, at one time or another, believed what I was told, and altered some of my work to fit with “the right” criteria. That was a mistake. Here’s a list of five writing misconceptions that I was told to believe.

 1. “You must begin your book with an exciting scene.”

I was once told that my book had to begin when everything is changing for my main character: “when their world is turned upside-down” so you can grab your reader’s attention. I found a few things wrong with this advice, the first being, if we all started our books the same way, they wouldn’t be special or unique. It would be pretty boring to read the same kind of introduction in every book you open, wouldn’t it? The second problem I saw was, if we began our story when the character’s world is turned upside down, how would we know what is normal for them? Without any background story on our character, how could we distinguish oddities from their ordinary life? We wouldn’t know their everyday standards. The reader must connect with the character before he or she can care or worry about what is going to happen to that main character. Creating a subtle backstory first can help the reader to recognize abnormal happenings from ordinary ones. Beginning your book with a calm opening about the character’s everyday life is absolutely fine; there are so many famous classics that begin with a simple scene, like Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, and Sense and Sensibility. These authors didn’t follow the rule of the “dramatic opening scene” yet they have all have become enormously popular, selling a few million copies of their book!

2. Your book should contain 70% dialog.

A published author once told me that I didn’t have enough dialog in my books. I went on to learn that publishers sometimes determine your book’s success by the amount of white space on each page. Having a full page of dialog will provide more blank spaces than a full page of narrative, therefore, I was told that more “talking” is always best. So I decided to test out this theory and wrote a short book mainly full of dialog. It was choppy and not well explained, might I say. I couldn’t elaborate on descriptions or explain the surroundings without having someone speak it aloud. This idea of “lots of dialog” is a modern concept, so I can see how it would work for books taking place in the modern world, but if you enjoy writing historical fiction like I do, then this “all dialog” theory probably won’t work. It’s just not realistic.

3. Tell your reader instead of showing.

I’ve heard this one a few times. Some say that a writer should tell the reader about something, not show them, to keep the pace moving. I however, disagree. I find it much more interesting if I am actually shown something and not just told about it. The difference can have a lasting impact on the reader. Here is an example I made up:

Telling Version: “The boy told his dog to stay. The dog stayed.”

Showing Version: “He held out his thin little hand like a fireman stopping traffic as he slowly backed away from his fur-matted friend. Oh, how those four dirty paws wanted to bound across the space between them and gift the boy with a thousand slobbery kisses, but being the keen and obedient dog that he was, he planted his feet in the dewy grass and vowed to keep as motionless as the statue he had seen in the park.”

Both versions were each made up of only two sentences, telling the same story, yet they are both extremely different. Which one provided the most information? Which one would you be more likely to continue reading if it were the opening of a book? Which one do you find more interesting? Probably, the second one is the answer to all of these questions. The second version let us know that: the boys was small, the dog was scrawny, the dog loved the boy, the dog was obedient, it happened in the morning (dewy grass), and they take walks in the park together. The first version didn’t tell us any of that!

4. End each chapter with a cliffhanger.

Many say that to keep your readers flipping pages, you must create a cliffhanger at places where the reader is most likely to put the book down, like at the end of a chapter. I find that this strategy just isn’t realistic. Yes, cliffhangers are exciting and can add a bunch to your book, but one in every chapter is a bit excessive. Besides, if you have to bait your readers with a constant strand of dangerous and uncertain situations to stay seated and continue reading, it may not be a very interesting book in the first place.

5. Reading will make you a better writer.

Now, parts of this phrase are true. Reading other books can definitely help you with writing your own book. But when people give this advice, they forget to mention that it depends on what you read! If you read a lot of terrible books over time, you may find that you morph into having those same writing habits and write terribly! While at the same time, if you read many great books full of beautiful words and brilliant plots, your writing is more likely to improve. It is like that saying, “You are what you eat.” Instead it’s, “You are what you read.” If you want to write inspiring things, read inspiring things!

Bonus misconception: The publisher is always right. 

This is quite far from the truth! Many people I’ve met dream of the day when their book is accepted for publication. When they get turned down, they revise their work to fit the publisher’s standards. Then if their book is accepted they allow the editors to change whatever they see fit, slap a generic unenticing cover on it, and ship it out. Sadly, this happens a lot and many just accept it because they want their book published. But the publisher is not always right and you shouldn’t have to be forced to alter your hard work to please someone in order to get published. You don’t have to submit to what publishers say, because they’re not always right!

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Do you like to write fiction?

Were you ever told to believe one of these misconceptions?

Do you have any other writing myths or misconceptions to share?

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Megan Joy