Tuesday, January 21, 2020


This time, I will let go of my fears.
I will float wherever the wind of the Spirit takes me.
 I will explore new places,
 I will meet new people.
                                                Jesus will be so proud of me!

If you’re an introvert like me, you have engaged in similar conversations with yourself. I would love to own a bold, adventurous spirit, ready to launch myself to dizzying heights, assured Jesus was waiting to navigate the wind and guide me to His intended destination.

Alas! Too often, I have found myself tethered to the earth, to faith in the bottom line of my bank account, to the old adage that I should act my age. But—oh, the glory—when I let go to follow Him!

Glorious Adventure #1

There are times when you know God is speaking.  He told me to start a Crisis Pregnancy Center in our rural county. Me? An at-home mom with three children under the age of five? My bumbling obedience gained me board members, an office, and seed money in a matter of weeks. Every time I took one baby step, God showed me the next three on my journey. What a magnificent ride above the mundane to watch God shape the ministry and touch the lives of women who needed Him so desperately!

Glorious Adventure #2

Adventures don’t always start out fun and exciting. During a season of huge personal pain, I had hunkered down in a spiritual foxhole, desperately trying to avoid more of the enemy’s bullets. God pointed out a teaching opportunity in the local paper.

“Go for it,” He said.

Not even wanting to venture out of my house, I argued with all the “wisdom” I’d gained over the years. “I’m not licensed to teach Spanish.” 

“So what?” He responded, “It never hurts to ask.”

He had me there. If I struck out, nothing would change for the worse.

Gathering every shred of chutzpah in my tattered condition, I waltzed into the school’s office the next day like a 21st century version of the fruit-turbaned Chiquita Banana Lady.

(Everybody old enough to know the Chiquita Banana song, sing along): “I’m a licensed teacher, but not in espaƱol. I know the language, and I can help your school. After years and years of teaching, oh how thrilling it would be to share the fun of Spanish with your school family.”

No, I didn’t wear fruit on my head! But with God’s help because of my obedience, I bubbled with enthusiasm, with cool lesson plans. I boldly proclaimed my teaching strengths with no apologies for a lack of a specific endorsement in Spanish.

They hired me! Not only did the position provide great joy for several years, that little Lutheran school was the perfect place for me to heal.

Glorious Adventure #3

A few years ago, God called me to a new adventure. Like a burner slowly inflating a giant hot air balloon, my passion to write full time had expanded until I was straining at the ropes holding me to my now-comfortable teaching job. Was I ready to soar into the unknown? Would I let go of my fear of failure?

All I knew was that in order to lift off and allow the Holy Spirit to blow me in the direction of His desires, I needed to cast off the tether lines. It’s been a rollicking ride as I’ve learned a little about technology and a lot about the writing craft. God has sent me on an exploratory journey where almost every day I must try something new.


What idea has God put on your mind?

Do you have a burning desire to share the Word with others in essay form? Pray about starting a blog or a vlog and explore the possibilities as you wait for an answer.

Does the Holy Spirit repeatedly whisper to your soul, “Register for that conference?” Obey Him.

Or have you gotten as far as attending the conference and your first opportunity to pitch to an agent presents itself? Pray that the Spirit will inspire every word of your spiel, relax and trust him, and open your mouth.

Has He led you so far that your manuscript is finished, but writing a query or proposal has you frozen in place? Pray for His direction over every word, take a deep breath, and write it!

The path God intends for you to follow is different from mine, but the necessity to release the ropes of the familiar and rise into the unknown applies to both of us.

Will you join me in this Life of the Untethered? If yes, then this is what you say:
“Okay, Lord, I’m letting go. Up, up, and away!”

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, grandmother to seven, Linda regales the grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web:

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A Phrase for the New Year

One day as I prayed for my adult children, my mind swirled with requests concerning their health and safety, their relationships, jobs, and finances, my daughter’s and her husband’s parenting of our grandson, their relationships with God the Father, the insulation of their hearts and minds against the world’s influence. My requests culminated in, “May they seek you above all else . . . ”

I paused pondering those last words, realizing that’s exactly what I wanted for my life.  “Oh, God, may I seek you above all else.”
Photo by Denise Karis on Unsplash

That phrase wafted about my brain the rest of the day. I’d been considering adopting a word or phrase to focus on for the year. What did I want to accomplish in the coming twelve months? A mental list of ambitious goals mixed with wishful thinking notions had bombarded my thoughts as the days of December wound down. I could think of no better focus for the year ahead than to seek GOD above the myriad of voices clamoring for both my attention and my allegiance.

As writers we can choose to seek fame and fortune. We can align ourselves with the trends that promise success. Fashion our writing content and publishing decisions around money and notoriety. Be less concerned about the opportunity to influence the world around us than on what’s in it for us. Or, we can pursue His will for our writing endeavors, above all other influences. Commit to write what, when, how, and why He desires.

As Christians, we have the opportunity to minister to others and to glorify the Lord with our writing. But that will only happen if and when we seek HIM above all else. If we try to imitate a favored author or charge ahead when His guidance says wait or fritter away time and energy that should be spent putting His words to paper, we squander opportunities to be His instrument, to bring hope and healing to a hurting world.

As the pages of a new year lay before us, waiting to be filled, I want my overall life goals and writing agenda to be aligned with the Creator’s. Will you join me in seeking HIM above all else in 2020?

Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

Monday, January 6, 2020

Cinematic Secrets: Part 2

In my post last month, I explained how early filmmakers devised effective storytelling techniques that can help us tell our stories, too. For example, an early movie by Thomas Edison was likely to use one fixed camera and one scene to tell an entire story—much like a stage play in one act. Here's how a story might unfold using the primitive single-camera method:

Caleb had had enough of Ernestine's indecision, so he growled that he would have to make the old woman's choice for her. He stormed out of her kitchen and she heard his car rip through the gravel of her driveway as he roared toward town. She wondered aloud why her son wouldn’t let her pray about this. Why did he expect her to leave the only home she'd ever known to live in a rest home somewhere, among ailing strangers? Tears trickled down Ernestine’s cheek.

Even if we strengthen this tableau with dialogue and description, the story will be rather superficial, either in print or on film. So let's try telling the story in a sequence of scenes. Flesh out the plan of each scene with a scene-building worksheet (Click Here). 

[Scene 1: Ernestine’s kitchen]

[Cut to Scene 2: Inside Caleb’s car.]

[Cut to Scene 3: Office of Ernestine’s doctor.]

[Cut to Scene 4: Office of hospital social worker.]

[Cut to Scene 5: Back in Ernestine’s kitchen, late in the day.]

These scenes tell the story in chronological fashion. They also reveal a good deal about each character's persona through self-talk and rehearsal, which they would conceal in the presence of others.

This is the dual purpose of well-executed cinematic scenes: They keep a story moving, while allowing us to see what each character learns through dealing with life's challenges. Scenes make cinematic stories dynamic and true-to-life. They can do the same in our short stories and novels.

Joe Allison writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has been a member of the Indiana chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2010. He lives in Anderson, IN, with his wife Maribeth and daughter Heather.