I hope you’ll be encouraged to turn a horrible situation into a success. I wrote about mine and it was published ( and I got paid too!) At the bottom of this page there are 5 tips to help YOU get published. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy my website and news. Susan
The article below was published in the Testimony Magazine of the PAOC, Sep/Oct 2017 issue.
LIFESTYLE by Susan Harris
INTO THE GREAT UNORDINARY
Discovering the life God made us to live
I just wanted an ordinary life.
My gaze falls on the trees that fringe the north side of our yard at our new acreage. At the height of winter, their their bony arms raise to the heavens as if asking for mercy, for green to clothe their nakedness. Being
leafless, though, is pretty ordinary for that season.
April comes and goes. No buds, no shoots. Into the first week of May the grove is still brown and bare. Then suddenly it is there. Although I’ve been watching it every day, it is only when I photograph the men laying the foundation for the garage that I notice the first leafy green. The full lush transformation takes a mere ten days. In this quick growing season, that too, is ordinary.
But alas, the long-awaited glory is short-lived. Our province is invaded by tent caterpillars. I, along with many others, thought this wouldn’t happen for another dozen years. The infestation feasts on the hundreds of poplar, chokecherry and Saskatoon trees in our immediate perimeter, and thousands more nearby. I feel blighted too. The simple joy of living in the countryside vanishes.
For the first time the blinds on my kitchen window are pulled down to shut out the revolting scourge. There are caterpillars in piles, caterpillars crawling on the dirt, the siding and the steps, caterpillars too gross and vile to be photographed. This is not ordinary.
I’m told it is a rare occurrence, but I’ve seen it three times in 15 years-with two of those being the last two years. This is enough for my lifetime!
The grove to the north of our yard is once again desolate. In the height of spring, their bony arms stretch to heaven for mercy. This is not ordinary. Imprisoned in the house, I too, weep for mercy.
Air attacks are the only option—pray and spray. But the winds seems impervious to our prayers. Eventually, on the second day of June, the winds are clamed and the acres are doused from above. The plague is ended. As our help comes from above, from the Lord who made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:1-2), so our trees are redeemed from above. Thanks be to God— and the spraying team!
My blinds up again within a week. I look… blink and blink again. Our trees bear a greenish hue. This wonder is bewildering. How can they rebound so quickly?
The words of the prophet Joel ring in my ears: And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25 KJV).
To see the word “caterpiller” in the Bible, to actually have been the victim of caterpillars, to witness their ravage and then this resounding victory of restoration, staggers my mind. God has restored. God will restore. God is restoring. All these statements are true of the windbreak that guards our house. This is His blessing to us. This is not ordinary. The hundreds of thousands of trees along the highways and grid roads remain desolate. Leaves have not regrown. This miracle is unique to our property.
Jesus often pointed to the natural, physical world in order to unfold abstract, spiritual truth. He urged His disciples to “look at the birds of the air” (Matthew 6:26) and to “see how the lilies of the field grow” (Matthew 6:28).
When I see our trees, worship bursts from my lips: Look what the Lord has done! Each time I peer through the window I’m awed by the resurrection unfolding before my eyes, and my heart rejoices at His handiwork.
The tangible illustration of renaissance fills my spirit with expectation for what God has in store for me. It reminds me that God is a restoring God. He mends hearts. He heals bodies. He renews minds. God gives joy and pours out His favour, giving far more than I can ask or think. He wants to move me From ordinary to unordinary living.
He has made me to be, in the words of 1 Peter 2:9, part of a “royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (KJV). Too often I settle for ordinariness, and for this I repent.
It’s time for me to let go of the status quo and to begin to pursue this great unordinary life He is calling me—and you—into.
5 TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED – Writing a 1000-word article
1. Read the magazine or publication to get a feel of their style. Research, research, and do extra reading on the topic. Check their websites to see if theare accepting submissions or proposals. Chicken Soup for the Soul is constantly seeking submissions. Check out their site at http://www.chickensoup.com/story-submissions/possible-book-topics
2. Create boundaries. Pick an aspect and stay with it.
3. Use clear and simple language. Avoid repetition.
4. Hook the reader. Use create appeals like startling, fascinating facts, appropriate humor, action words, to name a few. The opening line is critical, and the first paragraph vital, to success.
5. Edit. Pay attention to spellcheck for starters. Print the article, and read it aloud to catch awkward phrasing. Proofread again until you are satisfied.
You are on your way to success.
ALL THE BEST!