Prompt-A-Thon: Send me a prompt idea!

Happy Sunday, friends! I thought that it might be fun to send a shout out to gather up some prompts for a project that I may be starting soon. I've found that prompt writing is fun, and I have written dozens of short stories based on them.

So what is a prompt? A prompt is a word, idea, or phrase. They are typically not a sentence. A few examples:

Nature of the Beast
Love at first sight

What I'm asking ALL of you (seriously, everyone) to do is send me a prompt. It can be anything. Have fun with it. I need your help. Send me one; send me five! It doens't matter how many.

Be my next piece of inspiration. Be my muse!

This Week in the Story of My Life:

One of my many New Year's Resolutions was to better manage my time. I have been doing a lot better. This is only my second semester back in college, so it has taken me some time to adjust. Last semester I was having a hard time keeping up with my homework, my daily Bible reading, and every other obligation that I have. Sometimes I honestly feel like I'm drowning, but I am blessed to have new opportunities.

So, what am I doing differently? I make it a point to do a little homework/studying every day. Yes, every day! If I miss a day, then I'm swamped the next day. To get my Bible reading in, I've started listening to the Daily Audio Bible (which is really awesome). I am totally hooked.

Unfortunately, I still haven't been able to write like I would like. When I'm done with school, homework, intern work, listening to the Bible, and leading a class at church - I'm exhausted! I am in my first Creative Writing class (which I'm loving), and it has helped me get those creative juices flowing. So far I've written 2 poems and three short stories. You may see a few on here sometime, who knows. Speaking of writing, I submitted in a First Paragraph Contest, which is pretty brilliant. It's all in good fun. I've also sent my poem entitled "I Stand Alone," for possible publication, and I've entered a novel contest. My theory is I just send something in every week. I'm bound to increase my chances at getting more of my pieces published. Right? :)

I also added some information on the pages to your right --> . There are links to more of my writings under the About Me section. In the About My Novel section, you can read one of my many query letters for my novel Georgia. There is also a small except from my new novel currently entitled Realm of Desire.

So for now, I'm still trying to keep up with this crazy life that I have, but the goal is to be able to fit everything into one day/24 hour period. There truly is not enough hours. I feel like I need a vacation at the end of every day. All I got to say is, thank God for Sundays!

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Being as I am an avid reader, it may come as a surprise that I can limit my favorite books to so few. Well, guess what? I can't. These are only a handful of my favorite books. There is no possible way to fit them all into one picture.

What made me think of my favorite books was yesterday, Friday (my thrift store shopping day), I found a Jane Eyre book. I instantly had a flash back to senior year in high school, when I read this book. I can remember sitting in my big ol' chair in my purple bedroom reading a beautiful love story and loving it. My heart for Literature was only starting to form then, and I accredit books like Jane Eyre to the reader/writer that I am today. I found it interesting, also, that the book (which is pretty old) originally cost 65 cents! Amazing, right? Unbelievable, actually. How nice it would be to walk into Barnes and Nobles and NOT spend fifty dollars. I would have many libraries filled if all books were under a dollar.
My complied list of favs are as followed:
  1. Radical By: David Platt - Very inspirational, non-fiction, Christian
  2. Cast of Characters By: Max Lucado - Inspirational, Modern Bible Stories, Christian
  3. Pride and Prejudice By: Jane Austen - Wonderful Romance
  4. Book of Poetry By: Robert Frost - One book that stays on my nightstand

How to Know the Most Famous Person in the World

Have you ever wanted to meet someone famous? Have you ever thought about what you would do if you walked up on your favorite actor/actress? What if they sat at the table right next to you at the coffee shop? What would you say? Would you ask them for their autograph?

In a world where Entertainment is the center and famous people determine what we wear, what slang we use, and how we see "beautiful," there is an entirely differnt famous person that should be the model of our lives. He has been the most famous person in the world for the past 2,000 years. He's made the most headlines. More songs and books have been written about Him than any other. His word has inspired archeological digs and has changed countless lives. Meet Jesus.

How can you get to know Him?
1.) Find a church. Find a place that will feed your soul. We are created to live in community with one another and Him. Chuch provides encouragement that we often don't find in our everyday lives. We also need accountability. If no one is asking us if we're reading, praying, growing - we may find that we don't. We get the substance we need from church, and we use what we learn there when we go home, work, etc.
2.)Pray - Use a prayer model. Just start talking. It doesn't matter if you know how. Don't worry about feeling stupid, sounding stupid - He doesn't care. He has been with you at your worst moments and has seen every sin and deed that is locked away in your closet. There is nothing hidden between you and your Father. Realize that, and instead of hiding, build a relationship with the One who loves you most.
3.)Read His word - Reading the Bible is the most active ways to learn what God wants you to do. He gives descriptions of who He wants us to be, and how He wants us to treat others. He reveals Himself in every passage. This is His living word that speaks to us. It is our road map to life. All we have to do is read it. Want to know how He feels about marriage? Read it. How He feels about adultry? Read it. What about how He loves His children? Read it. It's all there. Everything you have ever wanted to know. How to raise children to how to prosper - it's there.

A little about the Bible:
The Bible tells of His story and the miracles that He performed. It explains His death at the cross for our sins. The Bible was written over the span of 1,500 years, written in 3 different languages, and ranges from divinely inspired kings to peasants. It covers every topic and every walk. Although it was written ages ago, it still speaks to every generation. How a book can be relevent from century to century is beyond human explanation.

There is no one worth knowing or meeting more than our Father. What's amazing about it all is that He is there knocking- waiting for you to open the door of your heart. He wants to know you. He is waiting to be the man sitting next to you at the coffee shop, the man standing next to you at work giving you a smile, and the man holding you when you break down in tears. He is waiting to dwell within you always. No matter where you are or where you go - He is wanting to be there comforting you, encouaging you, loving you. And perhaps on one of those meetings you decide to ask the most famous person in the world for His autograph... I have a feeling that He would simply write, "Love."

Special Thanks:
I give a special thanks to my wonderful pastor who inspired me with one of his sermons today. To hear life changing messages, visit here. Also I'd like to thank my dear friend, Laura, for the sweet little gift pictured above.

Be blessed.

American Lit. Lesson 1

by: Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

HIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main, --
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed, --
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreath├Ęd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings: --

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!

"The Chambered Nautilus" is the perfect example of early American poetry. It rhymes, it has a great happily-ever-after ending, and it keeps true to form. Oliver Wendell Holmes, along with 4 other poets, were among the most widely read and studied during the early to mid 1800s.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
-John Greenleaf Whittier
-James Russell Lowell
-William Cullen Bryant
The need for happy endings was great in America during this time because life was hard. People died young. Death and tragedy were knocking at everyone's front door.

The speaker is walking upon the beach, and he comes across this Nautilus shell. It's broken and weary. There is nothing living inside it - it's just a shell of a life once lived. Instead of seeing it only in its brokenness, the speaker sees that there's a story to be told and a lesson to be learned by this shattered shell.

"The Chambered Nautilus" speaks of a sea-creature called a Nautilus that grows out of its shell every year. It has to add a new, bigger chamber annually to live in. Since it is always adding to its former body, it creates a round vessel. When the Nautilus leaves its old chamber for its new chamber, it builds a wall closing off the old one. The Nautilus is always moving forward, never able to move backward. Every chamber is bigger and better than the one before it. As the Nautilus closes one door, a better one opens. At the end, the Nautilus has passed on and the speaker describes it as a glorious event, "Till thou at length art free / Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea." (ll. 34-35) No matter what happens- life goes on. We keep moving forward, even when we think we can't. There is a true blessing in that.

Sirens (l. 5) - They are mythical creatures. Women, who sing to sailors in order to capture their attention. They are often saw as irresistible. Their purpose is to lead sailors to their death.Another poet who uses them is Samuel Taylor Coleridge in "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner."

Main (l. 2) - A body of water.

Bark (l. 3) - A boat.

Triton (l. 26) - Another creature from mythology that is saw to be the "King of the Sea." He is often seen as a fish-like creature that uses a horn, like in this poem.


The other night my husband and I were driving home in Del Rio and we turned a corner only to find a beautiful owl standing right in the middle of the road. His big round eyes gleamed as our headlights hit them. He stared. We stared. It was amazing to us since we had never seen an owl before (in person). He had brown markings with white. After a minute or two he started to look around - all the way around. We sat in awe at such a beautiful animal. We decided we were going to try and get closer to him. We pulled the car forward a little. He didn't move. We moved it a little more- nothing. And just as I thought that I could get a barely visible picture of him through my terrible camera phone - he flew away. His wings spread across the night sky, and it took my breath away. My husband and I continued our way home in utter disbelief. We felt that God had just blessed us. One of His amazing creatures of the wild had let us see him. Enjoy him.

We went home and looked up what the symbolism was to seeing an owl. There are many ancient beliefs, but the most common and one that we chose to believe is that he is a sign of upcoming wisdom. I pray that this is the case.

God blesses us in the small things, and sometimes it's the small things that mean the most. For some reason, I have been drawn to owls the past few months. I have even decided to start collecting them. There is something inspiring about its allusive nature. God knew that, and showing me that owl was a pleasure the He gave me.

I read this when doing some research on them, and I thought it was cute.

There is this nursery rhyme that says:
 "A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why ...can't we all be like that wise old bird?"

I was reminded of the movie Legend of the Guardians, so I decided to add the trailer. It was a good movie, and I thought it to be appropriate for my topic today. Enjoy.

Have you ever come in contact with an owl before? I'd love to hear your story. Leave comments! :)

Cheers and Happy New Years!

It is another year, and I am reminded of all the things that I wished I'd done last year. My "New Year's resolutions" seem to be piling up. I think the main thing I need to remember as I embark on another year is that balance is the key to a happy life.

I need to balance:
-work with play
-self-determination with letting go
-prayer with taking initiative
-life with dreams
-realism with wonder
-simplicity with immense creativity
-veggies with chocolate
-exercise with relaxation
-responsibilities with enjoying letting someone else do it

In addition to needing major balance in my life, simplicity seems to be a word that has been haunting me. A simple life – my dream in three little words. No matter what happens this year, whether my husband gets his dream job or I publish my first book or nothing significant happens at all, I WILL work on simplifying my crazy life.

My dear friend, Laura, inspires me so much and she doesn’t even know it. She told me that he color for the year is purple. Colors truly inspire. I think mine this year will be red. No sure why, but I’m going with it.
Inspirational animal for the year? Uhmm… the owl. For some reason I’ve been drawn to owls for the past few months. Maybe some wisdom is in my future???

Just a little jingle for you,
To bring in the new:

Another new year is here.
Exciting adventures are near.
2010 sure went by fast.
Hope 2011 is better than the last.
To peace and joy –cheers!
From one heart to another – Happy New Years!

Be blessed my friends!

Vanessa K. Eccles

© Copyright 2011