Friday, December 14, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Fifth Day Gift - Imagination

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....

God's Gift of Imagination

by Jack Cavanaugh

Christmas is a holiday for the imagination.

Angels and shepherds and wise men (oh my!),
Tyrants and taxes and stars in the sky!
No room for a bed
As tidings were spread
And the Father looked down from on high.

It’s no wonder the story of the nativity thrills our hearts year after year. It’s a wonderfully creative event orchestrated by a Deity who loves using His imagination. Take the temple priest’s robes for example. When the temple was first built God assembled all the skilled craftsmen and gave them instructions (Exodus 35:10). The craftsmen designing the priestly robes were told to adorn them with images of blue pomegranates (Exodus 39:24).


There’s no such thing as a blue pomegranate! What was God thinking? If this kind of creativity were to catch on we could end up with Christmas cards with images of green angels, pink Christmas trees, and a plaid star over the manger!

If blue pomegranates bothers you…get over it! We have a wonderfully imaginative God who frequently colors outside the lines. Go, and do thou likewise.

Wishing you an imaginative Christmas season.

Jack Cavanaugh is the author of Hideous Beauty: Kingdom Wars #1 and countless other books. For more information visit

Kelly Thoughts....

I’ve read Jack’s recent book. Doesn’t surprise me that he’s a fan of imagination -- he seems to have a truck-load of it.

I find it fascinating that the aging process tends to choke out imagination.

A child grasps the concept of Santa Clause and the truth of Jesus with an open, excited heart.

There are exceptions, but as a rule, a child is all about curiosity and delight. Trust and innocence. And an adult? Duty and responsibility? Greed and cynicism?

So what happens?

Imagine this scenario.

“Hey, Johnny, you look so pensive, what’s up?”

“I’m just thinking I want to be bitter and selfish when I grow up.”

Not. Likely. Remember the commercial with the little girl with thoughts full of ballerinas and the cryptic words, “No one dreams of being a junkie when they grow up.”

Is it that we no longer believe in magic? Realize that life isn’t a box of chocolates after all?

So can we, as adults, responsible and cynical adults, embrace the magic in life again? Not hocus pocus fake magic…but real magic.

Every morning is brand new. Babies continue to be born. Curiosity and imagination are housed in the minds of children. And they are willing to share. God gives us puppies, kittens, sunsets and oceans to delight our senses. He created cocoa and coffee beans and strawberries. Tiny, nearly invisible works of art fall from the sky and land on our lashes and noses. Why? Because God is creative and He is behind what we consider magical and whimsical and pure.

Don’t look to the retailers for magic. Don’t dig in your wallet for it. Look up. Bend over and make eye contact with a child. Laugh. Make a snow or sand angel. Love.

I hope your day and your new year will be full of childlike expectation and delight.

Serials and Scenarios - Karen's a Ball

Karen Ball bounced in and left us with some great answers to our questions.

You gotta love someone who's favorite lines come from The Princess Bride. It's nearly inconceivable. Thanks, Karen, it was great visiting with you.

Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?

Winnie the Pooh. He got to go around all day saying cute things like "Oh bother!" or "Tut, tut! It looks like rain.", no one cared that he was fluffy and just a bit on the, um, dense side, and his friends loved him deeply. Plus he's got a host of quirky, fun friends who go along on adventures with him. Oh yeah, I'd love to be Pooh. I even like honey!

Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.

"No more rhyming and I mean it!"
"Anybody want a peanut?"

Second only to: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You keeled my father. Preepare to die." and
"You keep using that word. I do not think that it means what you think it means."

(All from Princess Bride)

What makes you feel alive?

Nature. And animals. A walk through the Redwoods or along the Oregon coast; playing with my dogs; closing my eyes and lifting my face to the Oregon sunshine; the sound of rain on the roof; the feel of fog when I walk in all feeds my spirit.

Favorite season and why?

Autumn. I love the colors and fragrances, the coolness of the morning air, the faint scent of wood smoke in the air at night, the hint of the coming Christmas season...It could be autumn all year round and I'd be happy.

Which compliment related to your writing has meant the most and why?

The letters from women who've read A Test of Faith, saying they were helped through their mother's death by this story. I wrote it because, when my mom died, I went looking for a book to help me deal with the loss and grief. There wasn't anything. NADA. Not for a woman losing her mother. So I used my own experiences in the hopes of letting other women know they weren't alone--and that someone understands just how difficult this loss is for a woman.

What criticism has cut the deepest and why?

The PW reviewer who made snide comments about A Test of Faith. It hurt because this book means so much to me, and because I so want it to help other women. But when you pull AToF up on Amazon, what's the first thing you see? That PW review. I had to just let it go and trust that God would put the book in the hands of those who really needed it and would be helped by it.

What would you do today if you knew you had only a week to live?

Use my mileage plus miles to fly my family and best friends to my house, then spend the week with them, talking and remembering, laughing and crying, playing board games and croquet (a family favorite), singing together, and planning my memorial service. I don't want a funeral, especially not an open casket one. I want a memorial service with pictures of me with my loved ones, so folks remember me alive. Not laid out in a casket. (I mean, come on! Have you ever been able to answer "yes" to that dreaded funeral question: "Doesn't she look natural?" Usually I want to look 'em square in the eye and ask right back, "Is the sky blue in your world??")

What is your favorite word?

Family. Followed by the close second: Friends.

What word annoys you more than any other?

Any word spoken in malice or stupidity, intended to hurt. Words are just too powerful to use them as weapons.

Super power you'd love to borrow for awhile?

Flying. I'd LOVE to fly. I dream about it, and even after I awake from those dreams, I still remember the sensation. Can you imagine it? Being able to soar through the skies like an eagle? Oh man...where do I sign up??

Favorite chore

None of 'em. Hey, they're chores. Cleaning, laundry, taking out the trash, picking up puppy poo...blah blah blah. Hate 'em, one and all.

HOWEVER, there are things other people consider chores that I consider relaxing pastimes: gardening, walking the dogs, washing the car, even vacuuming (love the immediate gratification). What can I say? I'm easily entertained.

Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.

The multitudes who use you and me when it should be you and I. From country western songs (which I love) to Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (which I watch all the time, along with all the other Law and Order shows), they just can't seem to get it right.

Describe something you can see, hear, taste or feel without telling us what the item is.

Soft, like clouds beneath my fingers. I bury my face and inhale, filling my senses with the fragrance that is both wild and docile. Strength and gentleness. I rest my cheek against blended soft and prickly, feeling the warmth beneath, the slow up and down as breath is drawn in, then released. The low sound of trust and contentment rumbles from within, drawing a smile from me...and I close my eyes. Cherishing. Time is running out. Moments like this are drawing to and end, and all that will remain are pictures. Oh, they'll capture the joy, the love. Even the personality. But not this. Not the feel. The scent. The sounds. The visceral experience that is uniquely us. So, for this moment, I let myself linger.

And prepare myself for the coming goodbye.

Frizzy hair, purple scarf and a book – make a character.

Heck, I AM that character!

Swirling leaves riding the icy wind, danced up Liesel's skirt.

The leaves weren't the only things stirred up by the breeze which now carried the cloying scent of death.

She turned, draping her scarf over her head, letting it shelter her chilled cheeks...and hide her face. She didn't want them to see. The pain. The sorrow. The anger. It was hers, not theirs. They had no right to it, to the dissection and analysis she knew they longed to apply. No, her thoughts, her feelings, they would stay tucked away, deep within, kept safe until she could study them. Take them apart herself. And one day, God willing, understand. Why she felt as she did.

After all, he wasn't the first man she'd killed.

Nor would he be the last. But for some reason, killing him had been hard. No, more than that. Devastating. Exhausting. Even...regretful.

And if she didn't figure out why, she just might be out of a career.