Thursday, January 20, 2011

Love Without Limits

Shema Yisrael! Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai ehad. V'achav'ta et Adonai Eloheika b'kol l'vavkha u'b'kol naph'shekha u'b'kol me'odekha.  Hear, O Israel! The LORD our God, the LORD is One.  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

These words spoken by Moses in the book of Deuteronomy were hailed by Jesus as "the greatest commandment."  Possibly because He was addressing a culture that had been heavily influenced by Greek philosophy (as has ours), He inserted the additional words "and with all your mind" right after the bit about our hearts.  (See Mark 12:28-30.)  But how can you love God this way?  It’s really REALLY hard to love someone you can’t see, can’t hear, can’t touch. I’d go so far as to say it’s IMPOSSIBLE.  And yet, Jesus Himself said that this is the greatest, the most important, of all God’s commands. So how does a person keep it? 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chew Your Own Banana...PLEASE!

Hi, my name is Dee, and I'm a teacher.  It's been twelve minutes since my last teaching.  I've tried to quit, but I just can't seem to stay on the wagon.  For one thing, I love teaching.  More than that, I love the steps that comprise teaching.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Beloved Disciple Chapter One, part 2

Coming up out of the water that day shouldn’t have been different from any other time I’ve bathed deep.  There’s always a moment when the wind and sun hit wet skin, sound returns to the world, and air-starved lungs draw in a gasping breath.  These were the same as with any swim in Gennesaret, yet there was a difference.  I felt different.
I looked up into Yochanan’s face, disoriented.  A moment ago he’d been holding me under the surface of the river.  Now he smiled at me, his brown eyes shining with water-reflected sunlight, and for no reason at all I started to laugh.  He hugged me, both of us laughing there in the middle of the river, and then led me back to the shore where hundreds of seekers waited to hear what he would say next.
“You sons of snakes!” he roared at a group of Pharisees.  My eyes widened in shock.  The Pharisees are the most devout men in Israel.
“I tell you again!  God doesn’t need you or your kind to fulfill His promise to Abraham!  If He wanted to, He could take these stones and turn them into men more like Abraham than you are!”  Angrily, Yochanan brandished a muddy rock in the face of a richly dressed rabbi.  “Don’t think that you’ll escape His wrath just because you’re descended from Abraham!  You boast of your family tree, but it’s barren.  Already God’s axe is laid at its root.”
The crowd roared its approval of Yochanan’s choice of target.  Unfazed, the Pharisee took a step back as if disgusted to be in such proximity to the Immerser.  He wrinkled his nose disdainfully as he spoke.  “You ignorant peasant.  You think a Nazir vow gives you the right to spit on all that has made Israel great? 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Beloved Disciple Chapter One, part one

Beloved Disciple
Book One: Son of Thunder
D. L. Maynard

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John 20:30-31


The dreamer dreams . . .

Suddenly, the constant, gentle sway of the deck beneath my feet stops.  Above my head, like a thousand silver suns, the sky is shining.  I narrow my eyes against its brightness, to no avail.  The sea itself freezes beneath the glare, forming hills and valleys hard as brass.   Silence fills the air.  Then, distant at first, comes a crash of thunder, rolling toward me like a wave of the sea. Carried on the wave is a trumpet blast that splits the silence into a thousand drumming hoof beats as a herd of horses crests the brazen hill, ringing loud the message of the King’s approach.  He rides in the forefront, laughing with the vigor of youth and maj­esty, shining more brightly than the thousand suns, riding to claim his kingdom.  And I—leaping from the boat at his command—I ride beside him.

Chapter One

It had been a profitable night.  Although Yakob and I were exhausted, our nets were full and Father was sure to be pleased.  The sun was just peeking over the eastern range as we pulled into sight of Bethsaida.  Stretching, I grinned at my brother and yawned.  “Take the oars, Yakob.  I’m beat.”

“Not my job.”

It was my turn to row, but my shoulders ached.  “C’mon, give me a rest.  We’re almost home.”

“Then you don’t have far to go.”

“At least you could take one oar—

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Carpenter's Christmas

In honor of the season, here's the "Christmas" chapter from The Carpenter.  Enjoy. If you'd like to read the entire book, visit


"We're almost there, Mari."

"I'm sorry, Yosef.  I can't."  She gasped and dug her fingers into my arm.  "Not one more step."

"It's less than a mile."

She glared at me, sweat beading on her forehead.  "Fine, then!" she yelled angrily.  "You can carry the baby the rest of the way!"

Maryam had been complaining of pains for the last two miles.  At first, I'd dismissed them as fatigue, or indigestion, or imagination.  After all, it was a week yet until her due date.  But looking at her now, I was forced to admit that she was well into her labor.  I'd planned to arrive in Bethlehem five days ago; we were supposed to be settled safely under Uncle Nathan's roof by now – Maryam couldn't just lie down along the side of the road to give birth like one of her ewes!  "Please, Mari.  Try.  We're so close, just a little farther to Uncle Nathan's house, and his daughters will take care of you and the baby."
She shook her head, in tears.  "No!  I can't!  You don—ohhh!"  Whatever she was about to say was swallowed up in a loud cry as she half bent, half crouched, clutching her stomach.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Method Writing

I'm a method writer.

You hear a lot about "the writing method" in school (as if there's this Method that's somehow going to make a writer out of you), but that's not the subject of this blog.  I'm not talking about the writing method but about method writing, which is like method acting: the process of becoming the character you're portraying rather than merely analyzing the lines.

Being a method writer definitely has its ups and downs.

The biggest hurdle for me is that most of my protagonists are male, so I've had to get in touch with my "inner man."  Apparently I've succeeded.  My (ex) husband described my first protagonist, Yuannan, as "an arrogant jerk," which tells me I got it right.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Avinu Shebashamayim

"Avinu shebashamayim."  (For those of you new to my world, that's a transliteration of the first phrase of the Lord's Prayer, in Hebrew, which is my latest lifelong-learning project.  It's pronounced uh-VEE-noo shuh-bosh-uh-my-EEM and you can listen to it and other prayers at  The translation is "our Father in heaven."

Here's what I love about praying in Hebrew: it forces me to slow down and really think about what I am saying.  Of course, the temptation is always there to simply memorize the words by their sound and rattle them off like a parrot, but so far I have managed to avoid that temptation a lot better in Hebrew than in English.  (How ironic, that Yeshua's example of a heartfelt, conversational prayer has been turned into one of the most frequently parroted "prayers" in the church!)