Category Archives: Journal Entries

Writing is An Act of Faith


You know, I was sitting here wondering why I persist to type words into a OneNote 2010 page, when it struck me that writing is a true act of faith.

Who knows whether or not anyone will read them? I mean, most of us write because we want to connect with others. But honestly, my book did not sell anything like I thought it would when I dreamt of its release. For years I had ideas of what it would be like to be a published author. Not because I wanted fame or fortune. The realities are much different than movies. But because I wanted to serve and impact readers. Wow! Where was my head?

WRITING FOR CHANGE

No, I believe that my first book and my blog have taught me a lot. I still want to connect, but now whether I do or not I realize that I write because I have something to say and I love saying it. I believe that God has given me a perspective that combines with a gift of encouragement, to help others to be all that they can be in Christ.

I also know how much I love a helpful book. I’m changed by the reading and applying of what I read to my life. When a good book mentors me, I’m a better man for that. I want to pass that gift along to those who read my books. I want my books to mentor, coach along the journey to Christ’s Kingdom reign.

Truly, faith is keeping at something, even when you don’t see the results you expected. It’s believing what cannot be seen but being assured that it’s the right thing to believe.

WISE ADVICE

Before I completed and published my first book, I had breakfast with Gordon MacDonald at Friendlies. I wanted him to mentor me as a writer. He asked me to tell him my story. I talked. He listened graciously. I realized even while I was talking that I wasn’t communicating my passion for writing. Instead, I was telling him something else. It was as though God was allowing him to see something in me that needed addressing.

After breakfast, he recommended that I read a book. “This is not a Christian book I’m recommending, but it will be helpful for you to read it,” he said.

The title was In the Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson by Susan Erikson Bloland, the daughter of famed child psychologist, Erik Erickson. As a sidenote, I’m just finishing a memoir of a woman who separated from her husband for a year and met Joan Erickson while walking along the beach. They became close friends. That book is entitled A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, by Joan Anderson.

LOOKING BACK

In retrospect, I realized that my reasons for publishing were mixed. Shortly after I read Bloland’s book, I completed my book. I sought the Lord to purify my motives. Then I released the book at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and for Kindle and Nook. Sales were mainly to family, friends, and fellow pastors. Of course my church family and fellow associational leaders encouraged me as well. But that was about it. For the first year, I continued to write. But then I stopped.

DARK NIGHT

I went into a depression which, I later found out, was a “dark night of the soul.” I withdrew from people and things I usually enjoyed. I felt exhausted all the time. Because I was a busy pastor and associational leader as well, I began to question my calling.

Everything lost is taste and savor. Fortunately for me, I had praying friends and ministry partners. Some wise counsel helped me recognize God at work, not the enemy. He was taking everything but Him. Funny, because I thought I had given him everything already–many times. But He sees deeper than we ever could.

ON THE OTHER SIDE

I’m on the other side of all that now. It took two and a half more years to slowly let go of everything but Him. It was truly a spiritual winter. But the great thing about tracking through the winter with the Lord is that spring is the next season to follow. Spring is a time for sowing and planting, digging around and preparation.

A WITNESS

Now I’m settled in a great peace, waiting only on Him. I am also searching out a coach on the road ahead of me in spiritual formation, while at the same time coaching those whom God has sent my way. But I’m no longer an expert–Dr. Alves. I’m merely a witness, testifying to whatever the Lord shows or entrusts to me.

And . . . I’m writing again. Writing by faith. My one prayer is that the Lord will use the process of writing by faith in my life first . . . And if He so chooses, in the lives of those who may be drawn by His Spirit to read.

QUESTION: Have you ever experienced what I’m talking about?

OneNote for Your Journals


A reader wrote last week and asked me if I use OneNote 2010 for journaling or jotting down writing ideas. He is planning to leave a set of journals for his daughter and wondered how I did my journals.

Here’s my response …………………………..

Thanks for writing.

Everyone has his or her own way of doing things like this. I think as long as you’re asking, it means you’re open. And as long as you’re open, you’ll learn and you’ll be able to find a way that best suits you.

I like to record and date my journals. I keep several: A Reading Journal; A Travel Journal; A Spiritual Journal; and a Writing Notebook. Any one of these can be password protected if you need that kind of security. I mainly use PW protection only on my list of passwords. That way only my wife and I can access our passwords.

As far as your question about printing the journals, every once in awhile, I print a journal and make punch holes in the pages. Then I mount them in a 1.5 inch white 3-ring binder. A different binder for every 5 years. My spiritual journals are the largest, so I put them in a 2″ binder. Then I place them in my bookshelves.

But primarily I use and access them in OneNote itself. Use OneNote as your electronic index to the printed notebooks. That way if you need to see the larger context, you can simply find a topic or keyword in OneNote, then go to your printed edition and open to it. The less paper I use though, the better I like it. I enjoy the speed with which I can retrieve an idea that would otherwise be lost in the pages of my ink journals.

I still enjoy taking a book journal and pen with me when I’m in a park or on the beach, but I’m always thinking about how this will be accessed once I get back home and enter it into OneNote. I also like to scan things into one note or send photos to myself that I can print to OneNote.

EVERYTHING I need to retrieve or search is in OneNote. I never have to wonder where to find a special quote, because all of my Kindle highlights and notes have been saved to OneNote. I’m retaining a lot more of my reading that way. I can enter any keyword that I can remember from the quote or from my editing keywording of that quote when I chopped out some of the junk. I can recall that so-and-so said something about Joy. Control +E . . . BANG! I’m on it. Copy. Paste into Word. Move on.

Hope this is helpful. Hey, maybe I should post this answer to your question for others who have journals and are thinking about moving them to OneNote. Or beginning a journal on OneNote. What do you think?

He wrote back: “You should. Great answer and great process.”

Dear Readers & New Look for “David’s Place”


Wanted to give all my friends and readers a heads-up.

THEME CHANGE

I want to give you the best and easiest reading experience possible. I’ll be changing the look of my blog-site within the next couple of weeks (perhaps sooner). Don’t want you to be surprised when I do.

I hope you’ll like the new look and feel. Please take the time to comment once the change is made. Love to know what you think.

FOCUS

In addition, I thought it might be good to tell you about my focus here. I know that I’ve somewhat covered it in my ABOUT page, but not many people go to a blogger’s about page.

As someone on a spiritual journey to know God better, I write posts that I would like to read. Sometimes they’re on writing, or perhaps a review of a good book. Sometimes I simply need a laugh and post something humorous. I also post cultural warning signs so that fellow travelers will not be hurt along the path. Because foster care and adoption played a part in my childhood, I also write about that. And occasionally I post a devotional thought or journal entry from my various journals. My “How-to’s” seem to draw the most readers. Well . . . you get it. I intentionally mix it up–writing what I like reading.

CONTENT

Posting on a multiplicity of topics can prove frustrating for someone who’s looking for “a brand.” If you need a brand to subscribe to and follow my blog, check “categories” to filter my posts OR let it be this:

LOVE, LIFE, & ENCOURAGEMENT ALONG THE JOURNEY

I suppose that would be the sum of the parts.

FOLLOW

If anything in that brand appeals to you, then please follow my blog by either the follow button (if you’re on WordPress, signing up for email notifications, or subscribing to my post on Kindle.

COMMENTS

Though it’s not a requirement to read here. I would really appreciate it too if you would take the time to comment too so that we can develop a community. I know you’re busy, but it’s really great when I go to a site and follow discussions. They sometimes enlarge or enhance the author’s post. I’ve been helped by them as well.

THANKS

Well that’s about it. Thanks SO MUCH that you’ve read this far. And thanks for being a valued reader here at “David’s Place.” I appreciate your time and consider it a treasure.

BLESSINGS,

First Manuscript: Reflecting


Revisited this journal entry from my Writing Journals. It kind of captures that mix of anticipation with the anxiety of submitting the manuscript to editors. The process was not as severe as I had imagined. But it was long.

3/2/2009

I just uploaded my manuscript to iUniverse. It was a strange thing. I blogged the experience on my Windows live space. Below are those thoughts and reflections:

FINALLY!!  Manuscript away!

It was a weird feeling . . . uploading the work of seven years (conception) and three years (writing). I thought it was ridiculous when a writer would say that sending out his/her manuscript was like sending his/her child out into the world alone. I felt two things. First, a feeling that someone else is going to invade the work. Second, that I have little control over it. For some reason submitting this book manuscript is far different from submitting the articles I’ve written. I had no problem getting those off to my editors. No residual feelings. No afterthoughts. Done. Gone. And whatever happened, happened. But the book is far different. I think about it more. What’s to become of it? Will it communicate what’s in my heart to communicate? Will the editors understand it? Do they care to? Or is it just editing for them?

For a moment, while I watched the bright green progress-bar inching to the right as the manuscript uploaded to the publisher’s site, I felt this “no turning back now” feeling. Very strange. Love to know the psychology behind it. I was almost in disbelief. “It’s really happening. For better or worse, you’re a book author now. This will be a new experience.”  I prayed that the book will bless its readers. I prayed that those who read We’re the ‘sons of God’ . . . So What? [WsoGSW]will have an encounter with the Living God while they read. And the result will be a new level in their spiritual growth and walk with God.

Now, I find the waiting more difficult than the finalizing of the manuscript.

I’m supposed to have an editorial evaluation back in two weeks from the day of submission. So . . . I’ll move on. Today I’m going to work on my first novel. I’ve been living with the characters and plot for a couple of years. I have a start that Marcy feels is “Great!”  So . . . it’s just a matter of, can I live with the work for another year? AND . . . finalize edits, cover work, and galleys of WSGSW?  We’ll see.  It’s an adventure. And I’m content to be on it. In any case, I’ll leave this to the Lord and move on.

TODAY:  The book, We’re the “sons of God” . . . So What?: Believe God About Who You Really Are is available at BarnesandNoble.com or Amazon.com. Scroll down the right side-navigation bar or go to the top menu to “Find My Books.”

I look back on that experience and am so grateful to have had it. It’s a wonderful thing to know that a word the Lord has given you is now in print and can be shared with the intended readers. And especially that the message will transform the lives of those who read it. They will have an encounter with the living God and see their true worth in His sight.

QUESTION: Do YOU recall what it was like to submit your first manuscript?

Five Favorites


In case you missed them, or you’re new at my blog, here are “Five Favorites” from last year’s best posts:

1. Finishing Well

2. Humbled to Be a ‘son of God’

3. What Would You Do? 180 Video

4. From My Writing Journal 4/5/2001

5. Why I Despise Religion

Hope you find something worth sharing in one of these Five Favorite posts. Please take a moment to “share” one or two with a friend or family member.

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