Donna...just found your blog...I absolutely love it! And I love your singing! I'm at work right now and it was just exactly what I needed to hear to help me make it through tonight! Thanks for your ministry here! - Robert

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bringing Words to Life




*For something different, I'm including a few posts on writing. I have a lot of readers who write, too!

Several of my friends are novelists. Anyone who can write a novel has my respect. I’m in awe of writers who write thousands of words in a day. When I write devotionals, I may write a thousand words. Then I start cutting, honing in on the central message, slashing the excess. For one project, I had to keep each devotional to five hundred words or less.

When I write for children, I have even fewer words with which to play around. Most of the children’s magazines want poems of up to twelve lines. In today’s market, picture books run less than a thousand words. The trick is to write a book where part of the story itself is dependent upon the illustrations in a picture book. As it’s written, the author actually ‘sees’ the pictures as if they already existed. Of course, sometimes, the illustrator comes up with new possibilities the author never dreamed.


Like most people, I’m fascinated by the story of God’s creation. By His Word, something came of nothing.


By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” – Hebrews 11:3

Mind-boggling, isn’t it?


In my children’s book, a few lines say,

“He (God) made the giraffe with his very long neck,

And the toucan with gigantic beak.

God must have had fun

Creating each one,

And all in just under a week!”

I like to think of God’s pleasure as He created. Can you imagine Him smiling when he put that humongous beak on the toucan? And then, with a flourish, added all the beautiful colors?


As writers, we are blessed to be able to create. And as a children’s writer, sometimes I’m really blessed, and the words I write are illustrated with pictures. It’s so much fun to see my words come to life. I thank God every day for the joy of writing, and for allowing me the pleasure of seeing my words in print, and sometimes illustrated.


Recently, Kevin Scott Collier and I worked on a short story for a new children’s e-zine. Here's a sneak peek at the cover of Topsy Turvy Tour, a mini-topsy turvy tale.




When Kevin sent the final draft of our creation, I felt giddy. Like a child again. The way I felt as a first grader when I brought home a masterpiece created with finger paint, and mom displayed it on the refrigerator.


Have you lost the joy of writing? I have a friend who’s a fantastic writer, but does she write? No. She’s lost the joy.


Now I’m not discounting the hard work. Anyone worth his salt will put a lot of time and energy into every creation. Not long ago, I finally finished a picture book I’d been working on, and it took more time than I dreamed possible when I began. It’s only 320 words long.


As a Christian, I feel a call to write. Even when it’s what some would think is a silly children’s story, I still consider it worship to God when I use the talent He’s given me to create. What keeps you writing? Does a finished product give you the impetus to start something new? Does an acceptance make you roll up your sleeves and get back to work? Are you called to write? We’re created in God’s image. Let’s create.


Amos 4:13 niv,
He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.”


Prayer: Lord, thank you for the talent you've given. Help me to glorify You in all I do, in life and with my artistic endeavors. I stand in awe of Your creation. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.


* Read this post on The Master's Artists blog. I have shared another picture from Topsy Turvy Tour. Click HERE to check it out.

Donna J. Shepherd © 2007 All rights reserved. No portion of this Website may be reproduced by
Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!


Monday, January 15, 2007

Devotionals for BUSY Parents: Promise Keeper

A new column's up on The Dabbling Mum.

"I’m amazed at how little weight we give to truth these days. Have you encountered people who consistently break promises? It’s gotten so we expect the politicians and advertisers to lie, but it’s especially exasperating to have someone tell you he will do something, and then not do it. When asked about it, he shrugs and says something like, “I changed my mind” or “Oops. Forgot about that.” His word means nothing.

Are you a promise keeper? Are you a person who keeps your word? Are you teaching your children to be truthful?"

Click here to read Promise Keepers.

Donna J. Shepherd © 2007
All rights reserved.


No portion of this Website may be reproduced by Crossmap or any other website without dated written permission from Donna. - Thanks!
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