The Pursuit of Purpose

The Pursuit of Purpose

Whatever Thomas Jefferson meant by “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, I equate the pursuit of happiness with the pursuit of purpose, the pursuit of a place of usefulness and meaning in the world. You might say I’m searching for my happy place. I know. For some of us,…

The Search for Substance

The Search for Substance

I am a realist. Though my mother might disagree (I suspect she equated my head in a book with my head in the clouds), on the bottom line I’m the ultimate pragmatist. I believe—and write—about life in all its humble glory, yet that’s a spiritual reality. I search for SUBSTANCE, the core value inside the…

Launching into the Deep

Launching into the Deep

In a Door-of-No-Return moment, the Lord of the Rings character Samwise Gamgee halts in the middle of a field. “If I take one more step,” he announces hesitantly, “it’ll be the farthest from home I’ve ever been.” But at his companion Frodo’s encouragement, he takes that next step. And basically launches into the deep. He…

Back to the Beginning

Back to the Beginning

My writing ministry file, labeled 20:24:28, holds almost 400 digital pages right now. The other day, as I finished my blog series on story motifs, I scrolled back to the beginning of the document and discovered some interesting points that I should review more often. In a lot more areas of life, it’s a good…

Behind My Mask

Behind My Mask

Can I share a secret? Hiding behind my mask, I’ve saved a bundle this year on face cream, lipstick, and even (gasp!) toothpaste. What I’ll look like when I finally emerge from the cocoon may alarm the neighbors.   We so often leave unattended what nobody else can see, where no outsider will notice. You…

This Homesick World

This Homesick World

Among the many themes in my books, the motif of HOME—or perhaps more precisely, houses—surprises me most with its broad-spectrum presence. I never planned to weave those ideas into the writing, was hardly even aware of them. But in this homesick world, maybe that’s not unexpected at all. Recently I suffered an attack…of nostalgia. Did…

7 Novel Ideas About Love

7 Novel Ideas About Love

Good sport that he is, my husband cheerfully endures watching the occasional chick flick or romantic comedy with me. But as Lord Byron said: “Man’s love is of man’s life a thing apart, ’Tis woman’s whole existence.” There’s a reason why love stories creep into (or take over) most of what I write–and why Romance continues…

This is My Father’s World

This is My Father’s World

The glory of God’s created world—the birds and beasts, flowers and trees—glistens as one of my favorite story motifs. Along with the sea and sky, I’m enchanted by mountains, meadows, and woodland marvels. As the hymnwriter Maltbie Babcock told his wife when heading for a walk along the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, l just…

Best or Worst?

Best or Worst?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” So Charles Dickens began his novel of the French Revolution, and at this moment, I honestly can’t decide either… whether this trip to northern Patagonia will turn out the best or worst time of my life. So maybe it’s not the best time…