Category Archives: Blogging

Without a Wound?

I don’t usually reblog stuff. There is enough bouncing around in my own head that needs to get out onto my blog. But I just reread Without a Wound? on the Broken Believers blog. I cry every time I read it. This thought that “Without your wound where would your power be?” is so powerful. This post could easily have been the preface to Light in My Darkness.

If you are wounded or in darkness, read this post and find meaning in your struggles.

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The Waiting Game

I’ve had butterflies in my stomach since I woke up this morning. Last night, around 9:00, I uploaded the cover art for my poetry book—Light in My Darkness: Poems of Hope for the Brokenhearted—to CreateSpace. Now I’m just waiting for CreateSpace staff to finish the review process and let me know if my files fit their technical specifications. I’m supposed to hear back within 24 hours, so I’ll know soon, but the waiting is hard.

In the meantime I thought I’d share the cover art with you all. This PDF—Light in My Darkness cover- Final flat—is both the front and back cover. This is the actual file uploaded to CreateSpace. It was created by my son, Benton R. Kruschke, who is an amazing artist and is currently an art student at the Art Institute of Portland. I just love how it turned out.

I also want to take a moment to thank Bryan Lowe of Broken Believers blog for writing the foreword and to share here what he wrote:

Never underestimate the sheer power of poetry. It is formidable. Linda knows this, and she has compiled this book from direct experience. And that is remarkable. I hope you’ll read this with an inquisitive heart and an eager mind. Good poetry should carry a weight of truth wherever it might lead. All that it requires is all of you. Poetry requires your full attention, at least to appreciate it fully.

Linda honors God in what she has written. I know her intention is to bring Him glory, and she does it fearlessly. What you read here comes from life’s furnace— things will be imparted through these poems. I pray the Lord’s blessing on this little book.

Read this book. Squeeze out the truth each poem has. I know that the author would appreciate it immensely.

Anyway, now I’ll go back to waiting. I’ll let you all know when the waiting is finally over.

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The Greatest Winner

The Tuesday prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a poem about winners or losers, or both. Mary noted these attributes of winners from an article she read (and linked to): “Winners are driven, winners take responsibility, winners are eager to learn, winners are positive thinkers, winners are humble.” These attributes reminded me of the greatest winner in all of history and so decided to write a poem about him using these attributes as my guide.

The Greatest Winner

The greatest winner in all history
was executed for crimes
He did not commit

Yet He was driven
by love and by grace
to take the punishment for all

He was not responsible
for our great sinfulness
but took responsibility nonetheless

Though He knew everything
since He was God, still
He longed to learn what others knew

He had the positive thinking
of a man of great faith and power
calming storms and healing the sick

But despite His greatness and majesty
He humbled Himself for our sake
was gentle like a Lamb to the slaughter

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Patience in the Homestretch

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. October 30 was my last post, to be exact, so it’s been 25 days. I blame it on being in the homestretch of finishing my poetry book.

I finished the final edits of the poems and decided on how to break it into chapters two weeks ago, but then I agonized over format, font, and what Bible verses to include after some of the poems. I thought I had it all done, then I read the specs on CreateSpace for how to format the final PDF and realized I hadn’t done something right. That required changing the font size and paragraph formatting of each individual poem.

Two days ago I uploaded the final PDF to CreateSpace and set up all the necessary book information. I also registered my new publishing company, John 14:6 Publications, with the Oregon Secretary of State as an Assumed Business Name to be the publisher of this and future books I have planned. I’m all ready to publish!

Except, I don’t have a cover yet. My cover designer, who is my son, is still working on designing my cover. I’m trying to be patient, but it’s hard, because I’m anxious to be done with this project. I feel like an overdue pregnant woman. (And trust me, I know how that feels because my son was overdue.)

But in Bible Study Fellowship we recently studied a passage that reminded me of why I asked my son to draw the cover art in the first place. Exodus 31:1-5 (NIV) says:

Then the Lord said to Moses,
“See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts.”

I know that God has gifted my son with artistic skill, the ability to draw beautiful designs. I’ve seen the concept sketch he did for my book cover—which only took him 10 minutes to sketch while I read him some of my poems—and I know it was truly inspired. I know that God gave me this resource so that I didn’t have to pay someone else to create my cover.

I also know that God told Moses to make sure the skilled and gifted workers, who fashioned the tabernacle exactly according to God’s pattern shown to Moses, got their Sabbath rest. Even though the work of building the tabernacle was important, regular rest in the Lord was more important. And I knew when I asked my son to create my book cover that he had other responsibilities, including art school and work, and that he also needs his rest.

And so I am being patient. The book will be done soon and available on Amazon.com and other online retailers. My goal was to have it published by year’s end and by the grace of God that will happen.

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To Publish – A List Poem

Today over at dVerse Poets Pub Meeting at the Bar, Tony Maude challenges us to write a list poem. As I read his article and poetry examples, I decided to write a list about the things I still need to do to self-publish my poetry book. I accomplished a lot this summer towards my goal of publishing by year end, but loose ends remain. I think a to do list on paper, instead of just in my head, will be helpful.

To Publish

Talk to reviewers
“How’s it going? When do you think you’ll be done?”

Consider suggested edits, proofread and edit

Decide on Bible verses to include and where
And divisions, do where do I include divisions?

Promote the book on Facebook, blog, Twitter

Final formatting, styles, font, so many decisions

Edit the preface and acknowledgements
Finish the front matter

Tell everyone I know I’m publishing a book of poetry

Encourage Benton to finish the cover art
Love the concept sketch; can’t want to see his final draft

Create a final PDF
Proof one more time to make sure it’s right

Upload PDF to CreateSpace
and upload cover art to design cover

Publish

Pray (wait, this probably should be first on the list)

Start on the next manuscript

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Darkness to Light – Take Two

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to think of our words as seeds and to consider what we want to grow from what we write. I decided to share a revised version of a poem I wrote almost three years ago. I recently submitted the original version to a poetry contest, and although I did not make it into the final round I received some great feedback, so I decided to incorporate that feedback into this version.

What I hope will grow from these seeds are encouragement, hope, and faith for at least one person who is struggling today with the darkness of depression.

Darkness to Light—Take Two

Darkness surrounded me
Darkness invaded my mind
Darkness enveloped my barren soul

In the darkness
The evil one whispered
Thoughts that seemed my own
They’d be blessed without me
It would be better if I was dead

Tears drowned me
Tears flooded my mind
Tears drenched my barren soul

Through the tears
The evil one whispered
Thoughts I believed were true
I am broken beyond repair
These tears will never end

Pain ensnared me
Pain clouded my mind
Pain threatened my barren soul

Amplifying the pain
The evil one whispered
Thoughts I was powerless to deny
This pain will forever cripple me
I will never know joy

Then God’s Light
Pierced the darkness
Illuminating my soul
Revealing the sin in my mind
Proclaiming the way for me

Forgive Jesus whispered
As I’ve forgiven you
Your darkness will subside
His words are true

Then God’s Love
Dried all my tears
Infusing my soul with joy
Clarifying truth in my mind
Declaring healing for me

Live Jesus whispered
As I live in you
Your tears will be dried
His words are true

Then God’s Truth
Erased my pain
Protecting my soul
Clearing lies from my mind
Redeeming my life for me

Love Jesus whispered
As I forever love you
Your pain will be decried
His words are true

Darkness, tears, and pain
Replaced by my Savior’s
Light, Love, and Truth
Holding me forevermore
He is my Light

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Illustrating the Importance of Diversity

As I’ve mentioned before, this past weekend I attended the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Newberg. There was a very interesting keynote speaker who was relevant to something I am involved in at work. I am part of the Diversity Advisory Council at the Oregon State Bar and so I’m always on the lookout for information and illustrations that are relevant to that role. I didn’t really expect to find that at this conference, but I did.

The speaker’s name is Randy S. Woodley and he spoke on the topic of diversity. He used two illustrations for how important diversity is that resonated with me.

First, he used the image of a fruit orchard vs. a fruit forest. In the fruit orchard there are only fruit trees that are all alike. If disease comes to the orchard all of the trees are likely to be wiped out. In a fruit forest, however, among the fruit trees many other plants are planted to provide important nutrients to the soil to strengthen the trees, while the trees provide a sheltered habitat for those same plants. All the different plants and trees work together to create an environment that is better for all of them. In the fruit forest, if disease comes the fruit trees and plants are more likely to survive because they have strengthened one another.

Second, he used the image of stew vs. a melting pot. He said that a diverse culture needs to be like stew that has many different ingredients, but that each ingredient retains its own shape and flavor while simultaneously enriching the flavor of the other ingredients. A melting pot, on the other hand, involves all of the different ingredients being melted down to be the same. I liked this illustration because I love stew.

Here is a link to Randy’s website about his ministry with Native Americans, working within their culture rather than trying to change it. http://eagleswingsministry.com/about/index.htm

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Poetry and Fearlessness

Last weekend I went to the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Newberg, Oregon. I was really looking forward to it for weeks before the event. And for the most part it was not disappointing.

I was inspired by several of the speakers — Tony Kriz made me laugh, Deidra Riggs taught me that patience in following God’s lead will reveal the unexpected, and Paul Louis Metzger showed me inspiration from King David I’d never seen — but the most inspiring of all was Phil Long, a spoken word poet that opened my mind to the real possibilities of poetry. We heard Phil share his poetry both Friday night and Saturday afternoon, plus I went to his break-out session in which he shared videos of several other awesome spoken word poets. As I listened, I poem started forming in my mind, but the weekend was too busy to get more than a title written down. Later he sat down with us at lunch and I got to talk to him about his poetry and preferred self-publishing platforms.

The theme for me for the weekend was “no fear.” It sounds so easy. Just don’t fear. Nowhere was that message clearer than the break-out session by Elizabeth Chapin. In the space of fifty minutes, in a session titled Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Telling the Truth, she shared her story in great detail. I learned from her that the little details are important — like how she spoke slowly and deliberately, that every seat in the room was full, and my dear friend Ginger sat to my right. A young guy in the back asked about using story arc in memoirs, and I wondered how he could already have experienced anything to write a memoir about. Elizabeth told me that telling my story is important. I left that session with more bits of my poem swirling around in my head.

The conference ended with reminders that I belong, that I am a writer, and that writing about our experiences in the context of faith and culture is essential.

So you might think that as soon as I got home I would have committed that poem to paper (or computer screen) and post it. I did start to write it. I sat in my favorite writing chair in my room and turned on the floor lamp. I pulled out the purple Relay for Life journal that I’d taken with me to the conference and turned to the page with my poem title — Memories Haunting the Light. I wrote the first two stanzas, coming to the stanza that was to describe the first “memory” that haunts me. I was going to be fearless and put it all down on paper. But I didn’t. Instead, I closed the journal and went to work on dinner.

As the days have passed and the journal has remained closed, I’ve pondered Paul’s thorn, and how we don’t know what his thorn was and that makes his experience more universal so that anyone with any thorn can relate to Jesus saying His grace is sufficient. Then I wonder if that thought and its corresponding decision to write only vaguely of my experiences, rather than in vivid detail, is merely a means of denying my fear.

And again I wonder what it is I’m afraid of and how I can continue to fear when my Savior has clearly commanded me not to, and provided me of examples of people who have not feared and been blessed as a result.

I do know that I no longer fear compiling the poetry I have written into a book and self-publishing. I did gain valuable information about self-publishing that I will put to good use this year and was encouraged. And now I’m looking forward to Faith and Culture Writers Conference 2015!

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Fewer Words – A Poem

The prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub yesterday was to write poem about a time or times that influenced our evolution to the poet we are today. I had to really think about this one to come up with something, and here’s what I came up with.

Fewer Words

First it was research papers,
then long-winded briefs

Perhaps just a memo
or letter to a client

but never a poem,
that’s not the sort for me

Expressing in essays
my thoughts and beliefs

No limit on wordiness
to slow me down

Others expressed ideas
great and profound

in simple poetry
of few lines and words

Maybe, just maybe
I could give it a try

Use fewer words to express
the mercy and grace of my Savior

the pain and the darkness
shattered by Light

Turns out a few words
are sometimes all it takes

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We Should Have Named Him Trouble – A Character Poem

The MeetingTheBar prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today was to write a character sketch, or include a character sketch, in a poem. Because our new kitten is at the vet today getting neutered he is on my mind, so I decided to write about him.

We Should Have Named Him Trouble

Alucard the seven pound kitten
His size I suspect will double

With him we are quite smitten
Though his middle name is Trouble

Slinking along almost flat
Preparing for an ambush

For stealth he has a knack
Until he wiggles his little tush

Yet so very sweet he can be
This funny little feline

Great love he gives for free
He’ll sleep in your lap or mine

Like a motor boat heard from afar
His purring announces his arrival

He sits up high as though he were czar
For his shoulder perch there is no rival

Like a panther sleek and black
He has the heart of a rebel

One day he’ll be a lazy old cat
But for now the mischief’s treble

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