It has been a while…

That’s an understatement ūüôā

It has been more than a year since my last blog post.

A lot can happen in a year.

I released my first book…

And my second!

And I am in the process of releasing my third title in the series.

So what happened to my weekly posts?

Good question. There are a few reasons I stopped writing. Some of them are understandable, and others took me by surprise. I’m not going to fill this page with the details. I had some challenges to manage, and lessons to learn. But I’m hoping that I have come out the other side and found my online voice again.

What I want to share is why I have been able to make it back.

Once people discover that I have written a book, they ask questions. Some of those questions are tricky. Sometimes, they purchase a book, which leads to more questions. And some of my readers want to discuss the different themes that I have woven into my stories.

Please keep the questions and comments coming. Talking about my books, and finding answers to some of the trickier questions, is making me a better writer. And a stronger person.

That doesn’t mean writing and publishing are getting any easier. I made a rookie mistake that has set the release date for Book 3 back by a few weeks. But Book 4 is already queued into the Editor’s schedule and should return to me for more hard work mid-July. I am hoping to release that one in September.

Where can you get my books? Paperbacks are available from me. The eBook links are on my Facebook author page

When I work out how to add the links to this new version of the program I am using, I will add them here – this is another of those “things” that have changed while I was away ūüėČ

Amazon links here. All three books are “live” here.

Universal Book Links UBL below:
Book 1: White Rose of Promise
Book 2: When Promises are Broken
Book 3: When Freedom is Promised (released June 11)

Talk to you soon,

Chrissy )i(

Summer days…

Red Ochre Beach, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia
Photo Credit Samuel Whittle

January here in the Southern Hemisphere heralds warmer weather.

It brings the opportunity to rest and reflect on the previous year and to plan for the new one.

It is also the time that I volunteer on the team for Scripture Union Tasmania Family Camp South, and my first beach visit for 2019.

Here I am on a child-friendly beach. The water was still too cold for me to take a swim )i(

There is something very special about living in a small community, away from the ordinary, everyday normal life. It opens up new opportunities to make discoveries.

This year, the theme for camp was Art/Artists, and in my spare time, I took over one section of the balcony and created an installation.
Here is the link to my Facebook album

Christine O'Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Christine O'Malley
Christine O’Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. Photo: Christine O’Malley

This was the first one where I was the only participant, and also the only time I have had an outdoor artwork remain open to the elements for more than a few hours. I am happy to report, after five days, and a few stormy nights, the delicate strands remained exactly where I left them. My only regret was not having enough wind to make the severed ends fly when it was time to start disassembling the weaving.

Christine O’Malley, Shimmering Skies (installation view), 2019. Site-specific mixed media artwork, Blue Lagoon Christian Convention Centre, Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia.
Photo: Christine O’Malley

Meanwhile, my writing projects had a holiday of their own.
Book 1: White Rose of Promise Рthe cover design has been chosen and I am waiting for the designer to send me the latest version. The blurb (that brief introduction that hides on the back of the book) has been drafted. The manuscript is with the Proofreader and been received favourably, with only a few errors Рmainly Capitalisation of keywords to match the rest of the document.
Book 2: When¬†Promises¬†Are¬†Broken¬†– the cover design elements have been selected. The manuscript is with the beta-readers and has been favourably received. Those who have sent me their reports are already asking for the next book…
Book 3: (Still no title). I reached a critical point in Chapter 15 and then left my poor hero in limbo to deal with his troubles on his own (while I was at camp).

Help wanted:

As the first of my potential readers, I am inviting you to tell me what you think of my blurb for Book 1.

Ria Fontana is home from twenty years in exile.

She has changed Рher name, her appearance, her personality. Her family barely recognise her. What happened to their carefree Maria? What secrets is she hiding? Ria’s dream for a new beginning fades.

Why has God asked her to risk everything for a promise?

Wealthy businessman Sebastian Romano has a heated argument with Ria at his favourite restaurant. The unhappy waitress knows nothing of his past, and no-one dares to warn her. Without family ties and few friends, this woman-hater is the last person she should turn to for help.

Her innocent presence draws out his enemies. Now Ria is in a battle for more than her dream – a fight for her life.

Will Romano do anything to save her?

Thanks in advance )i(

Farewell 2018

December 31 2016
Two years ago my vision for the future had diminished to a network of textile fibre threads weaving within my domestic space. My feet moved, my hands wrapped the threads that stretched out behind me around the anchor points I had chosen, and I listened to how my heart was responding.

What had begun as an experiment for a Visual Culture unit on identity was about to transform the final Fine Arts project that would bring me to the end of my double major degree. The experiment involved finding a way to express my presence within my domestic space, a self-portrait without any human representation. Meanwhile, my major project was about finding a way to overcome the emotional blues. As I lost myself to the experiment, my heart recognised the significance of what I was experiencing.

I had worked with textiles for as long as I could remember. I had even used yarn to explain to groups of children the connections that each of us makes when we engage in social activities. But the jump from a craft material to a form of visual expression for contemporary art changed the way I see the world.

My research had taught me that successful recovery from depression required the sufferer to find a way to reconnect to the ordinary everyday world. To learn how to take something mundane and discover the beauty and wonder that would transform their worldview.

December 31st 2017
I was emotionally and creatively exhausted. The months since I had submitted my final university assignment had been filled with indecision and idleness. My Blue Skies: Chasing Away The Blues Exhibition was fading to a memory and I was waiting for God to show me what would follow.

Now my days were spent wondering when my Graduation Certificate and Year Book would arrive in the mail, and daydreaming about possibilities. I made a beginning on archiving all my study assignments, and I put my cameras and the vast collection of assembled materials into hidden corners.

December 31st 2018
This morning I was reading one of my online devotions and a familiar Scripture leapt off the page at me. This same Scripture had a dramatic effect on me before, a few years before God moved me from the rural community where I had established deep roots and thought I would live forever.

At that time, I had been satisfied that I was ministering and working at maximum capacity, and the revelation that God had something bigger in store shook the foundations of my busy world.

Isaiah 54:2 (WEB) Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; don’t spare: lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.

As I look ahead to a new year, I have the threads of my recent endeavours trailing out behind me. Into the idleness of waiting, God had unlocked a hidden door, the dream to be a published author, long abandoned and almost forgotten. Unexpected. Unfamiliar. More than a little bit terrifying.

I have sat and listened as God has given me new story threads to add to my already complex weaving, and I have learned a lot more about who I am and the trace of my presence that I leave behind me in the world.

In 2018, I have engaged in three large textile weavings with children as enthusiastic participants, started this blog, written many words and gained new friends.

In 2019, I hope to self-publish White Rose of Promise and to have the sequel When Promises Are Broken follow the same journey. I have the outlines for another five stories hidden away and am working on the third manuscript now. There are a few obstacles to overcome: my fear and my limited resources (time and money).

In preparation, God is asking me to stretch my understanding of who I am so that I am ready to receive whatever 2019 brings to me )i(

It is my prayer that you, my readers, will have the door of opportunity open for you in the coming days, weeks and months. That you will take hold of the threads that you carry forward from 2018 and continue to weave your own marvellous tapestry.

Thanks for being part of my journey )i(

Disappointment

For my newest writing project, manuscript 3, I have been investigating lots of D words. Disappointment is one of those I am most familiar with. It comes with a big emotional back catalogue to give me plenty of personal references.

Usually, I am disappointed in myself, in my imperfection, and in the way that I struggle to remain true to the impossible goals that I have set.

The opposite of dis-appointment is appointment. I need to remind myself that I was created for a purpose (1 Peter 2:9), and that the Creator of the Universe has a much bigger plan (Jeremiah 29:11). While I  am struggling with this teeny little corner of the wider artwork that is my life, He is making something amazing (1 Corinthians 13:12).

I selected the featured image for this post because it presents a good visual example. The foundation was a small section of an ink on paper drawing that I really liked, so I scanned it and played with it. It was only when I tried to use it that I realised it had been such a tiny segment that the pixelations (those little ‘invisible’ squares that make up a digital image) were obvious.

Now I must confess that I am growing to like the awkward feelings that arise within me when something morphs into one of these less-than-perfect images. It helps remind me of all the hidden things that lurk beneath the surface, and are only available when something brings the whole image into full focus.

For the past few years, I have been spending a lot of time sitting in front of the computer screen. After four years of study, I believed God was telling me to write a fiction novel. At this moment, White Rose of Promise is in the final Copy-editing stages, When Promises are Broken is almost ready to release to the beta reader volunteers, and Book 3 is underway (I am still waiting for a title to emerge).

I have two computers available to me: a custom-built PC that is long overdue for a check-up and my portable laptop. I have two options for internet connection, one that is unlimited broadband, but the modem is too far away for me to have maximum benefit; and a portable one that is really handy, but has to be recharged at regular intervals.

Today, I am typing this text on my laptop (the PC had a hissy-fit – a highly technical term where the frustrated user is tempted to throw it out the window). After three failed restarts, I realise it¬†will be off to the computer-doctor later today. I am also using my portable modem because the ‘fast’ broadband is too slow to open anything other than my emails today )i(.

Which brings me to here. I often find my inspiration among the many online subscriptions that send themselves helpfully to my email account. The word ‘disappointment’ jumped off the screen and the creative inspiration had me rushing to start capturing my thoughts. Here is the quote that started it all today:

“If we‚Äôre honest with ourselves, disappointments can leave wounds that take time to heal.” Wendy Parker, thebigvoiceonline.com,¬†Blog¬†November 28, “Your Third Day – Dealing with disappointment” Click here for the full text¬†

As I was setting up both my backup technology options, my husband remarked that it wasn’t a convenient day to have both these problems. Even he now knows that Thursday morning is my dedicated writing time. First I read all my online subscriptions and log into my daily devotions. Then I sit down and write something – usually, it is for my¬†Butterfly Prayer House¬†Facebook blog, but sometimes, I find myself disappointed by technology or my own ability to pay attention.

Disappointment comes crashing in like a wave, trying to knock me off my feet. If I allow disappointment to influence me, then I will either drown in the negative emotions. Or I will leave the water, too frightened to learn how to overcome it.

Today, I discovered that I have greater resilience than I imagined. Despite lots of disappointment-inspiring difficulties, I have accomplished my main goal for the morning.

I even managed to find an alternative image when the one I REALLY wanted was on the PC. I am thankful that I have options, and that if one door of opportunity closes, instead of retreating from the arena, I need to open my eyes and look for another one. Often people question why I have such a positive approach to life – they don’t see what I am revealing to my readers. They don’t realise that God picks me up and turns my attention to the next adventure¬†and that by His appointment, I expect everything to end in victory.

Chasing Inspiration

Today’s inspiration comes from another long-term project. A few years ago, I set myself a task to create images to go with my¬†Butterfly Prayer House¬†daily blog, with the ambitious goal of one day having designed an image for a verse from every chapter in the Bible. As there are many great inspirational texts, it will take me the rest of my life to fulfil this goal.

Today, I went through my collection and selected some images taken at Dodges Ferry, Tasmania, Australia. I love going to the beach, but not on my own.

I have added a caption below each image to explain the relevance that these Scriptures brought me today as I prepared for my day of writing )i(

Writing a book takes a long time.
I like to swap out the word ‘temple’ in the final line of this text
and replace it with my current project.
This is a good Scripture to describe what happens when writing the manuscript is done,
and the revision and editing stage begins.
I have discovered that it is easier to write the story than

to reach the end of the process of editing.
But the end result is worth the extra effort.
There comes a time in the writing process
where taking time to rest and recover
is the best way to keep moving forward.
There also comes a time when I sit and call out to God for help.
There are moments when I know where my characters need to get to
but I have trouble writing their journey.
Always God answers my prayer for guidance.
Not always when I expect Him to, and not often within my time frame,
but when I wait patiently, He brings me through the desert
to the place where the words flow from me like water from a spring.
My stories are about justice, with lots of internal conflict and
more than a little bit of trouble for my characters.
I am working on my third manuscript in the River Wild Series,
and so far the stream of inspiration hasn’t failed me.
I remember sending off my first manuscript White Rose of Promise (WRoP) 
for Copy Editing, and my editor told me to get to work on my second manuscript.
The first one (WRoP) is still fully engaged in that process,
and my second manuscript When Promises Are Broken (WPaB)
is away with my alpha readers.
Meanwhile, I am up to chapter 5 of book three…¬†
I have chosen water themes to join together the books in my River Wild Series.
When I trusted God to give me a clear direction for my writing,
I was expecting to come to a satisfactory conclusion to my first story,
and then wait on Him for inspiration.
I never expected Him to take my characters and build a new story around them,
so that I started writing the next episode with all the hard work already done.

When I take the time, I can find inspiration from wherever God has placed, me, but sometimes it takes me some intentional sitting and waiting before I find the key to what God wants to say.

Do you have a favourite beach or water photo? Or do you get your inspiration from another natural feature? 

Between

I am between manuscripts at the moment. The first two are away from me, no further work to be done until I receive responses from others. The third story in my series is filling my mind, and I am feeling the pressure to get started…

One of my abstract digital drawings

I was filling in time, waiting for inspiration, and not getting anywhere fast. My restlessness this morning is uncharacteristic. I am in that between place. The land of indecision where fear and uncertainty are pushing back the exciting new possibilities. Into this moment, my mind catches a phrase on the screen in front of me, and everything that I am unable to pin down is brought sharply into focus.
“He is unafraid to ask God to teach him his ways and paths (v 4). He waits on God all day (v 5)”. (Mark Keown, WordLive, Goodness and Mercy, 4/11/2018.¬† To access the full post please follow this link:
https://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic/2018-11-04/Goodness-and-mercy

One of the preliminary digital drawings that brought me to the first one

Now I have a clear direction. I should bring all my hopes and aspirations for today and place them on the prayer altar. I need to remember that I have done this before, with both my first manuscript White Rose of Promise, and the second one When Promises Are Broken.
What is there to fear in starting the third in the series? What am I afraid of? The Bible passage referenced in Mark Keown’s text is Psalm 25, one of those emotionally honest ones by David. Keown writes that David is so secure in his relationship with God that he can speak out all his deepest thoughts without fear. David had found the secret. An ability to be open and honest and to look to God for guidance and correction in confidence. David knew that God’s guidance would bring him everything he needed. He also knew that God’s correction would hurt but afterwards, he would be a better person.

Can you see the beginning idea of the final digital drawing hidden in this preliminary one?

When I sat down to write the first few chapters of¬†White Rose of Promise I wasn’t sure that I was ready for the challenge. I spent long hours in prayer and matched my writing time with hours of reading Scripture and meditating on what I beleived God was teaching me.¬†
Then I sat down to write the second one with a different kind of trepidation. The first heroine had been ‘easy’ to write because she was a woman of faith. The second heroine was much harder to welcome into my life because she was angry and her view of the world was filtered by the relationship mistakes she had made.¬†
But the next heroine, the one who is speaking to me in the moments when my mind is open to daydreaming the possibilities, arrives in my story lost and alone. She has been set adrift by circumstances not of her making. Last night, I sat down and started to work on the timeline so that I know where my characters from the preceding books will be as the new story unfolds…

Another variation of the digital drawing to show the subtleties of colour and placement
that catch my attention and
draw me into a project.

I find myself between. How I manage the next few days will have an impact on how I am feeling about the writing adventure? What strategies do you use to manage the between moments on your journey?

Trouble

This is Ezra, study companion, writing critic, artist assistant
This is Ezra. He has had a VERY big day.
What was supposed to be
a dedicated writing day at home,
turned into an adventure.

I am juggling different writing tasks this week. Book 1 White Rose of Promise is back from the editor, and I have started the conversation about the recommended changes. Half the report was easy to respond to, but the other half will require a bit more effort.
Book 2 When Promises Are Broken is written and is now in the revision stage. Two of my beta readers have been promoted to alpha readers, and are helping to identify any troubling scenes. I know more now about what I want them to look for, and they have both stepped up to give me their honest opinion. My other beta readers are waiting to get their hands on the revised manuscript.

Books 3 and 4 are still clamouring for me to set aside time to write their outlines. I already know that heroine 3 is going to cause lots of trouble for me. Heroine 4 might be easier to write, but the two of them are going to have a face-off confrontation, hinted at in book 3 and explored in depth in book 4. 

Research

Among all the interesting texts I have looked at this week, the following one is especially relevant to the stage I am in.

“Sometimes we authors want to shield our characters just a little. Okay, a whole lot. But we mustn‚Äôt. They have to slam up against obstacles, problems, conflicts, trouble.
They have to hurt.¬†Why?¬†Because our readers hurt.”
(Davalynn Spencer, ACFW Blog, 18 October 2018. Available from  https://www.acfw.com/blog/dont-be-a-troublemaker/)

Thanks for taking the time to read my update. Do you have any interesting blogs or on-line articles that you think I should read?



Catastrophising

What is the worst thing that could happen? This author is good at catastrophising.

This image was taken at my April 2018 Red Skies Mini-Exhibition.
Do you focus on the tangles, the balloons, or the artist trapped in the middle?

Never Boring

Some people long for a simple life, while others find a way to enjoy the drama and excitement that is part of the contemporary culture in the twenty-first century.

Writing complications into the lives of my fictional characters seems to be an easy task for me because I am good at catastrophising.

I wasn’t sure if that was a real word, but am delighted to say that it is. It refers to the habit of looking at some ordinary event and thinking about the worst complications.

While I was verifying my facts I came across some helpful information. 

How to stop Catastrophising (Tanya Peisley, The SANE Blog, Sane Australia, 31st May 2017) Click HERE

Pinch Points

I have joined a few reader/writer discussion groups recently and discovered that there is a whole new language I need to learn. Pinch Points are the little dramas (aka catastrophes) that I build into my narrative. For example, in White Rose of Promise, my heroine goes for a job interview. She is feeling anxious and worrying about all the things that could go wrong.
What would be the worst thing that could happen? She might get lost on the way? She might arrive late? She might get run over crossing the road? *Please add your suggestions to the comments below. If you come close to my own ideas, I will send you a copy when WRoP is ready.

Everything she thinks of comes nowhere near the possibilities that I throw into the mix once she enters the door. By the time I have added some new details to the working environment, she begins to think the worst outcome might be getting the job.

How close to publication?

Book 1:¬†White Rose of Promise – is still away at the Copy Editor. Another author’s project pushed back my return date

Book 2:¬†When Promises Are Broken –¬†first draft complete, halfway through the second edit, with 20 chapters sent to my alpha reader, and 8 to my first beta reader. Initial feedback indicates there may be a quicker turn around for this one.

Book 3 and 4:¬†Untitled –¬†Preliminary research has begun, and the plot outline under development.

There are lots of possibilities.
Which one will be the rising star
that takes my story beyond the ordinary
and makes it shine?

Thanks for reading )i( Please add your suggested catastrophes for my heroine as she goes to her job interview. Perhaps you have had a real catastrophe of your own that you would like to share?

Making better choices

Making choices is a central theme in my series of unpublished manuscripts. It is also significant to my own journey towards being a published author.

Make a better choice.  

That has become my mantra when I am working with the children in the real world 

I find it applies to my young friends, both at school or here at the KTL Church House in Sorell, Tasmania, Australia.

Children often need reminding about the choices that they make. They can choose to argue with their friends or they can find a way forward that brings them more enjoyment. They can choose to continue their current behaviour which has poor consequences, or they can make a change. They can choose to sit there feeling bored, or they can look around for something interesting to do. The list of scenarios seems endless…

Making better choices is also one of my goals for the characters in my current series of unpublished manuscripts. In Book 1 “White Rose of Promise” the heroine has to choose between the plans her family have made for her life, and the promises that God gave her for a romantic future. In Book 2 “When Promises Are Broken” the new heroine faces choices that will have significant impact on her future. In Book 3, untitled as it only exists as a paragraph outline, my third heroine has to wrestle with past choices that are bringing her an evil harvest.

But it took an evening of sickness to remind me that this command applies equally to me. This morning, I could choose to stay in bed and let the one dedicated day of writing drift away. Or I could get up and make a start on the list of tasks I set myself.

Which brings me here. I have to remember that this writing journey is like preparing for a race. Each day I miss out of my training schedule puts me further from my prize. If I really want to wear the status of being a published author like a crown, then I have to put in the time. 

I am a visual learner. Here is one of my inspirational images that helps me get up and keep going. This floral coronet was a gift for my double celebration in April 2018: graduation and my 40th Wedding Anniversary.

1 Corinthians 9:24 (NIV) 
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

All week, I sneak moments to think about my writing projects and look ahead to this day where I can devote a solid block of time to writing. I have chapters from Book 2 to print for my alpha reader, and changes to implement in preparation for sending that manuscript out to my beta readers*.

*I am seeking more beta readers, so if you are interested in having a say about character development, and getting a sneak peak at my Christian Romantic Suspense series of manuscripts, please visit my Facebook page and leave me a comment. There is also a secret discussion group where you can contribute to research and planning. 

The rest of my list includes looking at cover design options for Book 1, writing advance posts for my daily prayer blog, and praying over the other stories that haven’t made it from my heart to the typed page yet.

I also try to catch up on reading all the subscriptions that are sent directly to my personal email address.

And take the time to meet up with a friend and work colleague to keep myself anchored in the real world.

This is Ezra Teeb-O’Malley.
One of his real-world followers made him his own Facebook page

Click here to follow Ezra.
Sometimes I think he has a more exciting life than I do ūüôā

Here are a couple of inspirational quotes that have been helpful this week.

“Why does that give us hope? God chooses people who are open, listening and ready to speak out ‚Äď no matter who they are or what they do. Can he choose you today?”¬†Sarah Bingham
https://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic/2018-09-10/The-roar-of-one-who-cares


“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”
Maria Popova,  Brainpickings 

“The Dos of Blogging –¬†End every blog post with an open-ended question.”
Edie Melson, The Write Conversation, Monday September 10 2018.

A final word for this week – and I am taking the advice of Edie Melson, and leaving you a question.

My first book has a heroine who has the makings of a saint, the second book has a heroine who stands up for herself and readily admits she is a sinner. The third book has a central character who changes her name as easily as changes her clothes. She steps onto a plane as Jezebel and gets off as Delilah. When she tires of this identity she chooses another one, leaving behind broken hearts and shattered lives, but she has no regrets.

What will be Delilah’s new name?

What matters most

When faced with a blank page I turned to an online devotional page. This week’s post is the result )i(

One of my digital drawings inspired by a butterfly wing )i(

This morning I sat down and looked at a blank page, wondering what had happened to the promise I made to myself that I would add snippets of interesting information to the draft for this post, ready for my Thursday morning writing session…
The past week has been full of the usual busyness, plus I included a day trip to spend time with a visiting relative, and I was rostered to lead Worship in Church on Sunday, followed by a shared community meal.
Otherwise, every spare minute has been spent hunched over the keyboard typing new words into my soon to be completed first draft for my second manuscript When Promises Are Broken.
The conclusion is in sight, and I can see the happy ever after ending, but there have been some tears this week as I said farewell to one of my favourite characters.


From the blank page, I turned to an online devotion and found this inspiring quote.”As a result, the psalm invites us to reflect on how the life we have been given is a gift from God: for us, and for our good.” (Psalm 16 reflection, Richard Briggs, 9/9/2018.¬†
https://www.wordlive.org/Session/Classic/2018-09-09/The-good-life)

This page also made reference to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is the contemporary term for the 19th Century adage “Count your blessings.” CBT relates to making a conscious decision to look for something positive to focus on to manage difficult situations.
For more information about CBT click on these links 
https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/cognitive-behaviour-therapy-cbt
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/treatments-for-anxiety/psychological-treatments-for-anxiety
https://au.reachout.com/articles/cognitive-behavioural-therapy

One of the strategies I employ to keep my personal anxieties in perspective is music. If I find myself unable to concentrate, I turn to YouTube for inspiration. For each of my manuscripts, I collect songs that have relevance for my heroines as they deal with my dramatic settings.
Sometimes memory comes into play, bringing to mind one of my Dad’s favourite old songs. Here is a video link to the one that is playing in my head¬†– I love the surprising choice of images to accompany the song, and¬†one of them includes butterflies…

Count Your Blessings YouTube video

Philippians 4: 4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

One of my digital drawings with overlaid text

One final word and then I will close for the week. Here is a helpful list for those who may struggle to find something to rejoice about: