Category Archives: Holy Bible Mosaic

Tyndale’s NLT meditation Bible of the Christian calendar year.

My song today, is Mary’s song

The Visitation in the Book of Hours of the Duc...

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This is the season of ADVENT.
Today, I want to focus on Mary’s Song (also called the Magnificat) from Luke 1:46-55.

When I first read this, as a kid, I thought, “Wow, Mary’s getting all charismatic…” I wondered if she would be dancing, or waving her hands, or twirling a flag. Would Elizabeth be worrying about getting poked in the eye?

But today, I rejoice, because I see so much better that God provides. I notice that in this Spirit-filled moment of joy, Mary gets what God is all about. She realizes what God is like, and what he does for people. She comprehends that God remembers (mind you, this does not mean God recalls, like finding a lost memory, but this specific term “remember” connotes that God “keeps in the front of his mind”).

God helps the ignoble Mary’s of the world, and will pick them to play the big parts. [Probably the least likely to be important was an impoverished, young, teenaged girl, from a small hill billy mountain village in the Middle East, right?]

The Magnificat speaks to me personally today, because I feel blessed; and perhaps it will be meaningful for you today. 

I hope you share your thoughts with us today.
Thanks.

46“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”

It seems God has a weak spot for the underdogs of the world.

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A Pathway to Publishing, Interview with Ed Cyzewski

A Path to Publishing, by Ed Cyzewski, 2010

Interview with Ed Cyzewski

Author of  A Pathway to Publishing ©2010

1. At the end of each chapter you give Action steps to help a writer move toward concrete goals. Is this what you did when you wrote, or do you wish you had done it? How important is this element?

It’s some of both. Most of the action steps are based on what I have found most helpful, but a few of them come from what I have learned from other writers and publishing professionals. I’ve had some wonderful guides throughout my brief career and they helped me take the right action steps along way, though sometimes I stumbled onto what worked best for me.

Beginning writers need to take themselves and their work seriously, and the best way forward is to take action. Whether it’s something as simple as reading the latest edition of a writing magazine (such as Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, or The Writer) or jotting down ideas for books and magazine articles, we all need to start somewhere.

2.      Which part of the publishing process is a beginner most likely to overlook?

I think there are two things beginners can overlook. The obvious one is the degree to which writers must be able to market their work on their own, but the more subtle one is learning how to write a book that is both true to their vision for it and suited to a specific audience. I believe that getting into the heads of readers is one of the most challenging and important aspects of writing. There are a lot of writers who labor over manuscripts that will not connect with readers because they aren’t asking the questions that readers will be asking. I have made this mistake far too often myself.

3.    From the start of your book, you tell readers to prepare for rejection. Aren’t you afraid you’ll scare them off?

I used to work at an art gallery, and I was in charge of the volunteers who returned work to artists after it was rejected by a jury. About a quarter of them acted surprised, outraged, and suspicious that their work was rejected. I’ve always thought they shouldn’t submit their work unless they are prepared to see it rejected, and that’s how I feel about writing. Publishing hopefuls should not try this unless they are prepared for editors to say “no,” reviewers to say “not quite,” and readers to say, “That book’s not worthy my $15.”

Handling rejection is a necessary and ordinary part of the business for every writer. Even Christian literary legend Fred Buechner shared at an event last year that his regular publisher rejected his latest book proposal. It never ends, but it does become easier to deal with. In addition, if you can keep the big picture of your writing career (and/or ministry) in view, then a few measly rejection letters aren’t too big of a setback. For a bit more about dealing with rejection, I have a series on it at www.edcyz.com.

4.      Do writers really need literary agents in order to succeed?

Agents aren’t exactly required for everyone. I have a friend with a really influential blog, and he was offered a book deal based on this amazing series he posted. No agent necessary. However, for the vast majority of us hoping to secure a book deal with a major publisher, an agent is necessary. Most editors will not even look at a manuscript unless an agent sends it to them.

If you want to try publishing without an agent, keep in mind that you’ll probably make tons of mistakes, some of which may affect your bottom line, control over your material, and future works. One friend I know narrowly avoided legal trouble because of some misunderstood contract terms. I view agents as an insurance policy and as a first line of defense to make sure your proposal/manuscript is as bullet proof as possible.

5.      You mention self-publishing as an option in this book, and the book itself is self-published. This has been thought to not be a legitimate form of publishing in the past. Is that still true, and what makes a self-published book succeed?

As far as legitimacy, let’s note the three major things publishers provide: editorial/design development, distribution/marketing, and authority. Today writers can hire their own editors, designers, and publicists, while selling through online sites instead of book stores. Most nonfiction writers won’t get in the door at a publisher without a marketing platform that will enable them to sell their books anyway.

If an author can make a legitimate case for writing a book and selling it to a specific niche, then I think it has a shot as a self-published work. Many authors are publishing commercially and self-publishing, but they are doing so with an established marketing platform and a degree of authority—Cory Doctorow and Seth Godin come to mind. I have spoken with one very well known editor at a major NYC publishing house who said, off the record, that self-publishing has lost its stigma for the most part. I don’t think self-publishing in and of itself is illegitimate. Authors who skimp on editorial development, design, and building their credibility are the ones who give self-publishing a bad name.

Let’s face it, book covers with clip art and tacky fonts are a tough sell. I hired my brother-in-law (www.joelinmotion.com) who is fresh out of Savannah College of Art and Design to put my cover together. He’s not a professional book designer, but he knows how to pick fonts and colors. The small investment I made in his help made a huge difference in the quality of the book in my opinion.

Having commercially published first, I can say that self-publishing involves a ton more work since you’re doing all of the little things yourself, such as book lay out, sending out press releases, and worrying about how your book appears at online sites. Since I can’t say this self-published book is a success yet, having just released it, I can’t quite answer this question definitively. However, I think the key to success, however you publish, is to market your work until you drop and to contribute to your community of readers.

6. First time writers don’t think too much about marketing their book. You seem to speak to that issue a lot. Was this a surprise to you, and what nuggets did you learn when you published?

I was blown away by how hard it is to sell books. The most effective way to sell books is in person. I’m a big fan of blogging and all that, but when you can hand someone your book and tell its story in 30 seconds, that person will most likely buy it. The personal connections you build online may be significant and may sell books, but selling it in person is quite effective. In addition, I’m a big believer in radio and podcast interviews, as well as online videos. Anything that helps readers make a personal connection with the author will be most effective because we’re all wondering, “Do I trust this person?” Think of the best ways you can answer that question, and that’s how you need to market. Having said all of that, writers need good web sites with stellar blogs in order to stay connected with their readers.

One other nugget is to begin thinking of every personal connection that can help you book speaking events. I find it really tough to find speaking engagements where I can talk about my books, and it can be hard to land events at book stores. Start thinking about this now. If you’re going the self-publishing route, keep in mind that many book stores will not want to host a self-published author, so think up some plan B options.

7.   You offer lots of extra free goodies and resources for new writers, tell us about some.

I think most writers will benefit from the online marketing chapter that I listed online. It covers everything from setting up a web site and writing a blog to using social media. This is a good place to begin building a platform, even if your long-term goal is to integrate speaking engagements and radio/podcast spots. I also have a sample of the book available for those who aren’t convinced by my “brilliant” answers here.

There is a growing list of links at the Resource page, but a glitch in my blogging program erased about 90% of them. I’m adding them again, so keep dropping by there for suggested articles and books on publishing.

Lastly, my writing blog www.edcyz.com has a bunch of series that writers will find helpful. My latest series covers what I learned from the self-publishing process.

Thanks for hosting me on your site Lisa! Happy writing.

Ed

Today’s Prayer

From The Book of Common Prayer, 1662

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit , one God, for ever and ever. -Amen.

Taken from page 70, Epiphany, Week 4,

“Holy Bible: Mosaic” (Tyndale 2009)

Rickroll = Godroll -Part 1

 

Rick Astley '80s pop

 

by Psalmist Rick Astley

Never Gonna Give You Up 

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

And if you ask me how I’m feeling
Don’t tell me you’re too blind to see

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)
(Ooh) never gonna give, never gonna give (give you up)

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching but you’re too shy to say it
Inside we both know what’s been going on
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understand

You’ve been Rickrolled

&

You’ve been Godrolled

Did you have fun? Share with friends and Leave your thoughts… 🙂

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Sunday Homily / Meditation / Lectio Divina

 Winter Sunrise NC

I present these two passages to you, from my own meditation time today, for your own reflection. Either one is a good choice for meditative prayer (Lectio Divina) which I have written about in previous posts. (You can do a search, or click on the appropriate category at the bottom of the page, for the 4 movements typical to this prayer form.) I have taken these two passages from the material offered in the Holy Bible: Mosaic by Tyndale, pages 58-59.

After reading these, please share your reflections.

Psalm 29:3-4

The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea.

The God of glory thunders.

The LORD thunders over the mighty sea.

The voice of the LORD is powerful;

the voice of the LORD is majestic.

O Love, How Deep

O Love, how deep, how broad, how high,

it fills the heart with ecstasy,

that God, the Son of God, should take

our mortal form for mortal’s sake.

For us he was baptized, and bore

his holy fast, and hungered sore;

for us temptation sharp he knew,

for us the tempter overthrew.

For us he prayed, for us he taught,

for us his daily works he wrought;

by words and signs and actions thus

still seeking not himself, but us.

For us to wicked men betrayed,

scourged, mocked, in purple arrayed,

he bore the shameful cross and death,

for us at length gave up his breath.

For us he rose from death again;

for us he went on high to reign;

for us he sent his Spirit here,

to guide, to strengthen, and to cheer.

To him whose boundless love has won

salvation for us through his Son,

to God the Father, glory be

both now and through eternity.

-Thomas Á Kempis (Germany/ c. 1380-1471) 

Magi Star Gazing: (Jan & Feb) (Party Kit)

January Epiphanies cont.

Many of us don’t brave the cold in January and February to see the constellations.

In January, many people throughout the world celebrate the Visitation of the Magi, who followed a bright star to find the Christ Child. This extends the Christmas Season celebration.

Perhaps we could be more mindful of our surroundings, our place in the universe, and other January Epiphanies if we bundled up at least once during January or February, grabbed a blanket and some hot chocolate, coffee, or Irish coffee, and went out for 10-15 minutes of thoughtful star gazing on a clear night.

That is my challenge to you. But, why not make it a group venture, family activity, or a party? Maybe exchange home made presents or goodies, inexpensive but thoughtful gifts, or white elephant surprises, to Magi it up a bit. If you’d like to include related Scripture readings for your time, try Isaiah 60:3 and Matthew 2:1-12.

Below is a fantastic recipe for slow cooker hot chocolate, plus an image of a star map for January and February–for the Northern Hemisphere, (it’s most accurate during 9-10p.m. Eastern Standard Time.) For Southern Hemisphere, click here. Face in the proper direction, and find the star patterns from the map. Show or teach them to your friends, family, children, or youth group.

And please remember: If it’s cold, dress in layers, a hat, gloves, and warm coat.

Please ~ Let me know how it goes, okay?

Hot Chocolate Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 6 cups milk, (or 4 cups milk and 2 cups half and half)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (12 ounce) package milk chocolate chips
  • Garnish:
  • Whipped cream 
  • (other options) Cinnamon, Coconut flakes, Sprinkles, marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, Candy canes

Directions

  1. Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a slow cooker.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish with whipped cream or other  garnish, as desired.

If you try this recipe, use this map, or have a good time star gazing soon, I’d LOVE to hear about it. Who says the holidays are over?

Nah!

(Click here for another January Northern Hemisphere sky map resource)

Star Map for Northern Hemisphere (Jan & Feb)

A Prayer for Guidance – Advent Meditation

Thank you for visiting today. I invite you into a short spiritual exercise of prayer and meditation.(It takes 2.5-4 min.)  Simply read over the following almost 1,000 year old prayer, about 3 times, (preferably out loud-even a whisper is fine). Each time think carefully, for 30 seconds or more, about something in the passage that stands out to you, before you re-read. Then, speak with God for a few minutes about the thoughts that came to mind.

Your comments, or reflections about your experience, or this prayer are quite appreciated.

Thank you, and happy Advent Season.

Page 28, Third week of Advent Meditation section-

Holy Bible: Mosaic, Tyndale Publishing, 2009.

Prayer for God’s Guidance

-The Sarum Breviary, 1085

We beseech Thee, O Lord, let our hearts be graciously

enlightened by Thy holy radiance, that we may serve Thee

without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of 

our life; that so we may escape the darkness of this world,

and by Thy guidance attain the land of eternal brightness;

through Thy mercy, O blessed Lord, who dost live and

govern all things, world without end. Amen.