Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

Several years ago Verizon Wireless ran an ad campaign with this image spread across our TVs, newspapers, magazines, the Internet.  Who didn't know who owned the tag line, "Can you hear me now?"

Verizon had adopted the slogan "We never stop working for you," with commercials showing a Verizon employee walking about in strange places continuously asking, "Can you hear me now? Good."  This was a representation of Verizon's test technicians.  Later, when networks expanded, Verizon continued to use the image but not the words, "Can you hear me now?"

Yesterday I was reflecting on how fragmented our lives can become if something goes wrong with one of our many technology systems.  We can instantly be disconnected from family, friends or business associates.

If we can't do it right now and send it right now and have it there in a matter of minutes, we feel disconnected.

If the computer crashes, we feel disconnected.

If the cell phone battery isn't recharged and goes down, we feel disconnected.

If the voice on the GPS isn't working just right and we can't get directions, we feel disconnected.

What if no one listens to what we have to say?  We feel ignored, and disconnected.

Let's stop a moment . . . and think about the Great Connection we have that is never disconnected, unless we disconnect it ourselves.

How does God feel when we don't respond to His whispers, His nudges?

And it's easy to do in this busy world of run here, go there, pick up this, pick up children, make dinner, do the laundry.

It's easy to forget that God is waiting, listening, hoping to hear from us, for some recognition that we know He's still there and waiting.

God is a connection that's always available.  Have you stopped to listen today for what He might want you to hear?  Do you think He ever asks, "Can you hear me now?"


Linking up with Jennifer today at:

And visiting Joan at Grace Cafe


Monday, May 28, 2012

Cousins Came to Celebrate!

The doors to our church opened Sunday morning to welcome six beautiful children.  Six cousins -- five girls and one boy.  Ranging in age from about 3-11 years.

Dressed in their finest.  Excited, engaging, exuberant!

The cousins came to celebrate the christening and baptism of their brand new cousin, a baby boy.

They took seats on the front row, not wanting to miss a thing.

As I watched them, I became fascinated by their well behaved demeanor.  Their excitement was on the surface, but well contained.

Following the christening and baptism and the children's sermon, they returned to their front row seats.  They had received activity packets -- our effort to help parents keep busy children busy.

The two older girls immediately became leaders and helped the younger ones to the floor in front of their seats. 

Each one became a beehive of activity engaged in creating something wonderful on this highly important family day.

What I observed reminded me of the Scripture found in Matthew 18:3 (NIV):

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change
and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I saw before me young children unaffected by others around them, by their surroundings, by each other.  They were simply being themselves.  

Why is it that I, as an adult, cannot assume that same mantle?  Why do I worry about what I'm wearing?  Who will see me?  What they will think?  Why do I really walk in the door of my home church?

I go there because I believe in the One God, Father of my Savior, Jesus Christ -- I go to worship, to praise and to offer thanksgiving.  I need not wear an exterior to please man or to exalt my own feelings.  I must come as I am, as a child.  That is the me that the One Above really wants -- the me that I am.

* * *

Lifting my hands to give Him thanks for so much this week:

486.  The joys of childhood.
487.  New babies in God's Kingdom.
488.  Restful time at home.
489.  Insights into my writing from an encouraging blogger's post.
490.  My friends who have supported me virtually and real time.
491.  Healing for our friend who recently underwent colon cancer surgery.
492.  Joy of preparing meals for a church family.
493.  Experiencing the love of young families in our church.
492.  Lives given in service for our country and freedoms.
493.  Active military personnel in Afghanistan and other posts in our world.
494.  Freedom to worship.
495.  Freedom to share here my faith and beliefs with other believers.

Linking up with the community at A Holy Experience 

and with Laura at 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2012


Arlington Cemetery,
where hundreds of thousands of dead lie beneath the ground.

Sacrifices beyond our comprehension . . . 
life, loved ones, families,
dreams and hopes,
and opportunities not yet realized.

Sacrifices by those left behind . . .
partners split apart,
children left fatherless or motherless,
fathers and mothers losing a child too soon.

And for what?

So that you and I might enjoy our freedoms . . . 
life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and
religion, the right to vote, speech,
the right to live in peace and harmony,
life itself.

And what do we do about it all?

We must pause and say "thank you"
for the sacrifices, the service, the commitment
and patriotism represented in service.

Take time this day and every day to salute with gratitude
a veteran, an active duty member
of our Armed Forces, or a member of the National Guard
for protecting you and your family.


Simply Sunday -- Letting Go

Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control,
let go of my own way, let go of my own fears.
Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire.
Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace.
Bend the knee and be small and let God
give what God chooses to give
because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks.
This is the fuel for joy's flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the
emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because
counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me,
holds me, passionately values me.
I can empty because I am full of His love.
I can trust.
(emphasis mine)


With Barbie at Freshly Brewed Sundays

and with Deidra in

and linking up with L.L. Barkat at 

On In Around button

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy (ISBN 978-1-590-52903-4)

When I selected Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy for my next WaterBrook Press review, I was tempted by the Civil War history referred to as well as the chance for a little romance in the reading.  However, upon receipt of the book and jumping right in to it, I struggled to be drawn in by the story line and writing style.

I will confess I had never read one of Mr. Lacy's books before and therefore didn't know what to expect.  What I didn't expect though was to find some inconsistencies that quite frankly bothered me.  If a writer is going to write historical fiction, it is my belief he or she should remain tied to the time period in language, casual lifestyle references and its historical stance.

Once or twice in Beloved Enemy, when scenes include Mrs. Lincoln and her two boys, Willie and Tad, the boys refer to their mother as "mom."  When this didn't seem absolutely timely, I checked online resources ([Merriam-Webster][1] regarding the origin of the word "mom."  Here, we are told that the word's first known use was circa 1894.  Since Beloved Enemy opens in the early part of the 1860s and continues only through that same early period, it is highly unlikely that the Lincoln boys called their mother "mom."

At one point in this same early part of the book, one character is read in dialogue to say: "Let's have a cup of coffee at the cafe."  Another language form that, in my own opinion, doesn't seem to ring true with the times.

Also, I found it difficult to maintain a record of the many Confederate and Yankee officers named throughout the book.  Mr. Lacy often refers to each in a multitude of names, sometimes using their titles, often only first names.  This would make it difficult for a reader unfamiliar with the war itself to track very well.

References to the women spies during the Civil War seem to be completely accurate.  Rose Greenhow was chief among the Confederate women spies as reflected here.  It is with great pride as a woman from the South to know that women played a strategic, if costly, role in the Civil War.

I'm reluctant to say that I will step out again and read one of Al Lacy's publications, but have done as WaterBrook Multnomah asked and have given my honest opinion of Beloved Enemy.

* * *

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sadness Reignites Love

For several months, husband and I have been giving respite assistance to family members.  If you've ever been faced with the slow deterioration of a family member, you know this bears heavy on your heart.

In the midst of this time, we seem to have moved apart.  Probably to deal with our individual emotional responses.  Maybe because sometimes we don't know what to say to each other.

Today I decided it was time to turn that sadness back into love.  The first thing I did was declare today "love each other day."  This was primarily for me, the one that sometimes can say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Then we we headed into Trader Joe's and I reached over and took Bob's hand.  A gentleman walking out of the store looked at us and smiled.  I hope he wasn't thinking we were too old to be holding hands!

It felt good.  Felt young again.  Reminiscent of those first days of knowing you'd found your soul mate.

And then silently in my heart, I prayed to God that he would give me the strength and courage to support my husband.  Losing his brother, as if someone is erasing away the core of that brother and leaving only a shell.  Must be hard.  I asked God to help me control my tongue and not to talk too much about all the wrong things.

This man I love is hurting and I want to help him see that we can reignite that sadness into love.  By thinking on the goodness his brother shared with others, all the children who loved him as their teacher and principal, the music he shared, the poetry he loved, the piece of him he gave to each of us.

Turning sadness into love.  Look at the sadness that must have gathered around the cross.  Then think on the love for us that was exhibited in the midst of that same sadness.  We can follow that example -- and we can get past this difficult time.  But we must love each other first.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with
one another in love.

Opportunity Knocks!

On Fridays it's always fun to join with the group over at The Gypsy Mama's to write for five minutes on a word picked randomly by Lisa-Jo, THE Gypsy Mama.  I'm off to write about "opportunity."  Won't you join us?


Opportunity knocks!  A phrase we've all heard before.  But I like to look on it more often than not as God nudging, whispering, sitting on my shoulder.

It's happened a lot lately.  The phone ringing, a knock on my heart, the pull between home and travel.  Receiving late night calls that your family needs you are never easy, but to throw your clothing in a suitcase and grab everything you might need for who knows how long sends your heart into double pulsing.

Last week was one of those weeks.  And it ended not so well.  But each time a call has come we've seized the opportunity to answer God's call to help family.  And just as things seem to be calming down and settling into a normal pace . . . . .

The phone rang.  Yesterday.  Our son and his wife were here for a short visit, and there was the clanging of the phone.

A young woman in our church was lining up fall workers for our LOGOS program.  I've volunteered in LOGOS before but stepped down when the family needs stepped up.  Would I like to sign up for this next year?

I paused.  Took a long slow breath before I started to say, "No, not this year."  And then there it was . . . .

Opportunity!  I paused a little longer.  Offered up a quick prayer.  I knew that subs were often needed to table parent and also to help in a short class time.  Yes, God, I'll seize that opportunity!

What did I just say?  I said YES!  I can't pass up on one of His offered gifts to connect with others and tell His story, especially to young ones.  Opportunities don't come along all that often and should be seized when possible.  You'll receive something out of taking that next step out of your box!

"Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock.
If you hear me call
and open the door, I'll come right inand sit down to supper with you. . ."
Revelations 3:20 (MSG)

(Could you pass up this opportunity?)


STOP! (Scripture and any images added after the 5 minutes were up.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sandwich Kid, Part V

As we've been spending so much time with the situations arising among my husband's siblings lately, I've been thinking about my own family so much more.  Then I remembered I'd not finished my little series on being the middle child.

I cannot leave it unfinished because the "best" is yet to come!  (Writer pauses here for lots of laughter within.)  Click on each number here to read Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

You've heard the phrase, "save the best for last," haven't you?  I think that's what my parents thought when younger brother, Brad, came along.  My assessment is highly prejudiced, however, so I ask him and my readers to take this post with a grain of salt.  You'll see why in a minute.

L-R:  Me, Mom, and Brad (one month)
Brad was born when I was eight years old.  My older brother had married when I was six.  I had enjoyed two years of bliss with my status as the only child.  Now, it was gone in a flash!

There was crying, wailing, little sleeping with this unhappy, colicky little one in the house.  Later, the pediatrician determined his discomforts were all caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids which couldn't come out until he was six!  Sounded like an eternity to me.

Finally, he began to grow into what I thought was a human being.  I learned quickly that toddlers can move rapidly through your things.  Things would go missing from my room.  I'd find them in the strangest places -- bathrooms, behind the sofa, under the dining table, inside cupboards.

The worst was yet to come -- he kept growing and growing and growing.  Pretty soon he was in school and friends the same size and age were invading the house.  By this time, I'm in my teens and don't want them around.  According to my parents, the playmates were good for Brad so they would stay.

Then he became a teenager interested in all things automotive, both under and over the hood.  Fortunately, he wasn't yet old enough to drive, but he wanted car magazines and books.  Always with the borrowing of money!  How was a non-working individual going to pay me back?  He didn't!

Despite my best efforts as his big sister to get him in trouble and keep him in hot water with Mom, Brad always managed to find his way out of trouble.  Many nights were spent in my bedroom with the door closed with him sharing with me what he'd been doing that night, and his daring me to tell Mom.  He knew I'd tattled on him many times and he was very cautious as he grew older to make sure I kept my mouth shut.  Now I've figured out I could have charged him for my secrecy.

I could tell you more but I don't want to bore you.  However, Brad grew into a very responsible and successful man married with a lovely family.  He's now enjoying being a grandpa and looking forward to another on the way.

Writer's Disclaimer:  Despite what I've written about our time growing up, separated by years on both sides of me, I love my brothers very much.  Currently, we are 80, 66 and 57, and not only are we separated by years, we are separated by 2,000 plus miles.

Recent events in my husband's family have made me aware just how precious life and family are with respect to who we are and who we become in this ever-evolving thing we call life.  I have taken much for granted over the years, including my brothers.  I hear God calling me to change that attitude into one of being more constant about contact with them and letting them know I care for and love them.

Q4U:  What about you do you have some family or even friends with whom you've grown distant?  Why not think about drawing a little closer in the coming weeks?  It only takes a little effort on our part -- that's all it costs!

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn
proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you.
Keep company with him and learn a life of love.
Observe how Christ loved us.
His love was not cautious but extravagant.
He didn't love in order to
get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.
Love like that.  

With Joan today at The Grace Cafe

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Always There

You’re Always There for Me

 When the world comes crashing in
And chaos rules my mind,
I turn my heart to you, Lord,
And pure, sweet peace I find.


You lift me out of trouble
You comfort me in pain;
You nourish, heal and cleanse me,
Like cool, refreshing rain.


In times of joy and bliss,
When things are going right,
You lift me even higher,
And fill me with delight.


You listen to my prayers;
You hear my every plea;
I’m safe because I know
You’re always there for me.
By Joanna Fuchs

May your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to Your promise to your servant.
~~ Psalm 119:76 (NIV)


Monday, May 21, 2012

Heart Full of Thanks -- Counting 1000 Gifts

Photo Credit
Last week reminded me of the old TV show called "The Week That Was."  Because that's just what kept going through our minds every step of the way. Comfort was found in the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG):

 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;

   don't try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;

   he's the one who will keep you on track.

Once again, I'm in stopping in to share the gifts I've received with Ann Voskamp and others over at A Holy Experience.

474.  Once again for safe and quick travel to and from Yakima, WA.
475.  A community of friends who helped our family until we arrived.
476.  God's watchfulness over our own safety as we cared for Jim, lifting him and transferring him.
477.  For an up-to-date hospital and staff who cared for Jim until placement was made in a nursing facility.
478.  God's hand on all of us as we shook our fists, cried out our hearts, and moved in disbelief that Jim could no longer be at home.
479.  Acceptance that our decisions were the best fit for both Jim and Helen.
480.  A safe and loving nursing facility, with guidelines based in Scripture.
481.  Staff at that facility showing compassion and care to their patients.
482.  For a nephew who could help Helen work out a financial plan for them going forward.
483.  For friends who gathered round us all.
484.  For the prayers of family and friends.
485.  For the love of my circle of blogging friends from coast to coast who lifted hands and hearts in prayer and petition on our family's behalf.

And also stopping by Laura's for

And joining with L.L. Barkat for

On In Around button

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Simply Sunday -- Lamentations 3:25-26 (NIV)

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait
quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Moment's Reflection:

The sign in the above photo could spell "no hope" for most people.  Yet over the past six days we have watched as my husband's brother was taken to ER and then hospitalized, and ultimately transferred to a nursing facility. The words "nursing home" could have caused us to feel beyond hope.

Do we give up hope simply because life has changed for Bob's brother and his wife?  Not at all!  Hope still abides if we only believe in our Lord.  These verses confirm that promise.  Our hope has only changed:  instead of prayers for healing we now pray for comfortable days and good care, instead of seeing our brother struggle to walk we see him confined to a wheelchair, instead of continuing to be in his home he has been moved to a different home.  These things have changed.  Our hope still rests in the Lord to comfort all of us as transitions and changes settle in.


Father, we ask that you continue to watch over our family and especially our brother.  Help him maintain that sense of calm we saw yesterday when we had to come home.  Let him know that you are sitting beside him each and every day.  Please keep your hand on his caregivers that their touch and care will be compassionate and loving.  In the name of your Son, I pray.

Sharing with Diedra at
Visiting Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays
Photo credit:  Jodi Green

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Quick Note

Just a quick note to say that we've been called away unexpectedly.

My husband's brother has become much worse in the last 24 hours, and our sister-in-law needs our assistance. 

As always, when God calls us, we go -- no matter what is planned, no matter what needs to be done here, no matter what we'd rather have happening.  We go.

I haven't the time to do posts for the remainder of the week, or even to consider reposts.

Just know that I'll be thinking of all of you while we're away, and would ask that if you're so inclined to please lift a prayer for safe travel going and coming and for God's hand in our efforts to be helpful caregivers.  Also, please petition God to give our family a sense of calm and peace.

Image credit: Yortw

Heart Full of Thanks -- Counting One Thousand Gifts (#462-473)

Sunrise east of Portland looking at Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood sits majestically east of our home.  Unfortunately, we don't have a view but many mornings before retirement I could see this view from the downtown office building where I worked, especially on those very early and sleep-eyed mornings.

And even though I can't see her, I know she is there to my east, the bedroom end of our home, sitting and waiting for the sun to rise, or for the clouds to embrace her with a cloudcap.  Mt. Hood is there because God placed her there for all time.  Just thinking of this view makes me think of the hymn, Morning Has Broken:

Morning has broken
Like the first morning,
Black bird has spoken
Like the first bird.
Praise the singing!
Praise for the morning!
Praise for them springing
Fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain's new fall
Sunlit from heaven,
Like the first dewfall
On the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness
Of the wet garden,
Sprung in completeness
Where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight!
Mine is the morning.
Born of the one light
Eden saw play!
Praise with elation,
Praise ev'ry morning,
God's recreation
Of the newday!

* * *

Continuing to count His marvelous gifts, along with everyone at A Holy Experience:

462.  Gifts of life, love, joy and happiness.
463.  Refreshing and renewal for my husband and me following caregiving time.
464.  Spring weather finally finding its way to the Pacific NW.
465.  Celebrating the joy of retirement for good friends.
466.  Honoring our retiring Christian Ed director at church yesterday.
467.  Seeing the children give her hugs and smiles.
468.  Planting in the yard.
469.  A mother who taught me to believe and to follow, and then to serve.
470.  Hearing from our kids on Mother's Day.
471.  Brunch with friends following church yesterday.
472.  Meeting an 8-year old girl while running errands who said, "I'm a joyful person!"
473.  The joy of God's recreation each and every morning.

Hope you decide to join us!  I'm linking up with Ann and others:
Image credit: 

And also sharing with Laura at:
And with L.L. Berkat:
On In Around button

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Simply Sunday -- Psalm 100

Psalm 100
New King James Version (NKJV)

A Song of Praise for the Lord’s Faithfulness to His People
A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.

A moment's reflection:
As a young girl, I was required to memorize these verses in Sunday School.  I haven't attempted to recite them in decades.  And yet today, for some reason, they resonated in my heart as I gazed upon the most glorious day in this sodden region of Oregon in a long time.  

Did these words speak to me because it was a beautiful day?  Because the sun shone high in a blue sky?  Because we were able to work in the dirt and plant flowers and vegetables?  Because we were celebrating a dear friend's retirement?

No, most likely it was because the Lord has been good to our family in times of distress, financial hardship and sorrow.  His mercy has covered us more times than I can count.  Lastly, I'm sure it was because our mom taught us that His truth would last forever and reach to all who came into our family until the end of time.

Image credit:  Aspiring Servant 

Linking up with Barbie at Fresh Brewed Sundays today:

and also over at Jumping Tandem with Diedra:

That's Just How Mamas Are

Sharing this lovely Mother's Day sentiment from today's blog post at . . . and Spiritually Speaking.

Bet you  have similar memories.  Won't you share them in a comment below?

Friday, May 11, 2012

What's My True Identity?

On Friday mornings, The Gypsy Mama (Lisa Jo) spreads a feast before us consisting of a challenge:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.

Today's word is IDENTITY.


What is my true identity?  As my blog name implies, I'm not just a name.  I'm many things.  A daughter, a sister, a wife and mom, now grandma and great-grandma.  A servant, nurturer, mentor, volunteer.  A writer, blogger, quilter, knitter, reader.  So many things.

But when others see me they recall my name first, if they know me.  And many know that I'm all these things.

What about others who don't know me so well?  What do they see?  Who might they think I am?

I'm hopeful it's the one true identity I've not yet mentioned -- Child of God, believer, Christian, follower.

Yes, that's who I hope they see or might soon see as they get to know me.  That is the true identity of who I am and what makes me all those other things I listed above.

My true identity is what God calls me to be.  My identity was paid for by His son dying on the cross.  Blood was shed for me, so that I might be a Child of God whose sins were already covered.

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love,
as Christ also loved us and given Himself for us,
an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
~Ephesians 5:1-2


Images and verses added after the 5 minutes was up.

Image credit:  LuxeFinds

Thursday, May 10, 2012

God's Requirements

Do I act justly?

  • Using fairness, equality, compassion in my treatment of others
  • Resist the temptation to judge another without all the facts

Do I love tenderly?

  • Reaching out to others in compassion, nurture, allowing them to see God through me
  • Touching with His touch, ever gentle and loving

Do I walk humbly?

  • No boasting or bragging about my service or discipleship
  • Giving God the credit for all that I accomplish with others the focus of my concern
  • Praising Him for the goodness I'm allowed to share
Of all these things we are asked to do, my great difficulty is the last -- humility.  Often I get carried away in conversation and begin to speak more about what I've done than about what God has done.  Even if He has done it through me, it isn't mine to boast.  I'm committed after reading these humbling words from Micah to work hard to change this part of my character.

What are you willing to commit to in the coming days?

Joining with friends at Heartprints of God for Heartprint Hallelujahs!

Image credit:  First Presbyterian Church - Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Favorite Writing Toys . . . Er, I Mean Writing Tools!

You might say I'm an easy hit for innovative software, especially when it comes to my writing.  Recently, I've fallen prey (in a good way) to three items I'd really like to share with you.  You may have heard about them elsewhere, but here's my take on them.

And it isn't that I don't love a moleskin journal, or a tiny leather-covered note pad in my purse along with my favorite pen for jotting quick notes.  It's just that there are so many wonderful, time-saving items out there, and it's tempting to try them out.

My problem is:  I try them out, I love them, and then I want to tell someone else just how great they are!  So, here goes . . .

First up, my first find and the one I've been using the longest, Scrivener.  Scrivener is similar to a word processing program, and it took a long time and lots of consideration to make me believe that it would be better than Microsoft Word, which I've been using for decades now.  Not too long ago, my friend and fellow writer and blogger, Joe Bunting, shared his thoughts on Scrivener.  Joe's overview provides useful information and images I'd provide so I won't be repetitious. Please take time to read Joe's review.

What I will share is that my writing life has become much easier since purchasing Scrivener (by the way, you can get a trial program for 30 days).  I like the way that everything I want at my disposal is right there on Scrivener.  No switching between documents, folders or files -- it's all in one convenient place.  Currently, Scrivener is relatively inexpensive ($45 for Mac, $40 for Windows).  And it comes with a great manual and tutorial.

Second in my lineup of new tools is Evernote.  Evernote replaces all the documents where I saved quotations, the folder in my email for blog items I wanted to go back and read, a stack of paper of things I'd printed out to read.  The beauty of this software is that it captures all those things for me in one place, and it does it all for FREE via my browser!  I refer to it as my online filing cabinet.  A search feature is included and the use of tags makes it easy to categorize things for searching.  I've not yet been disappointed with the software, the tutorials or finding help.  And I love the elephant!

Here are a couple of images showing how Evernote appears on your screen, depending on your operating system and personal setup:

Windows version

Mac version

And for those of you interested, Evernote has a phone app as well.

Third and last is my newest find, Mind42, a web-based mind mapping tool that I'm falling in love with.  Not being artistically inclined, the thought of drawing a mind map has left me feeling awkward and somewhat faulty in my efforts.  And it's free!

For me, the clarity of the design of the mapping in Mind42 was what won me over as I compared a variety of offerings:

Additionally, Mind42 is user friendly and an intuitive program to use.  So far, it hasn't disappointed me.  

I checked out several other free mind mapping softwares, including:

  • FreeMind (I didn't find this user friendly and not well supported);
  • (navigation seemed awkward); and
  • Mindomo (here again the process seemed awkward).
Don't hesitate to check out several as one that doesn't work for one individual may work expertly for another.

I also downloaded and tried out Cayra, but didn't like the way images on the map moved around on the screen as I added nodes to my map.

This has been a long post, one filled with lots of information.   But it's information I truly wanted to share with those of you interested in writing and finding the newest and most helpful digital tools available.

I'd love to hear back from you about what you're using and why you like it or your comments on any of my new toys that you've tried out.

Happy writing!

Disclosure:  I am not an affiliate of any of the companies mentioned herein, nor was I asked by any of them to give a review of their product.  This is purely based on my own experiences and the desire to share them with you.  However, the FTC (yes, part of our government told me I must) requires me to let you know that I'm in no way being paid for anything written here nor do I receive anything if you buy any of the products above.  So long!

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