Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Word Search: First Christmas

Holy Family WSDecrease the stress and focus on the importance of the Christmas season.

Here are two Word Search Puzzles–one for adults, one for children, based on the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2:1-21 (KJV).  The words used in both puzzles are highlighted in red.

Click on link for Word Search Adult Puzzle (30 words): WS First Christmas Adult 

Click on link for Word Search Puzzle for Children (12 words): WS First Christmas Children

Mary onn Donkey“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 

“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LordAnd this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Apparition-to-the-Shepherds“And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

“And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” ~ Luke 2:1-21 (KJV)

Click on link for Solution to Adult Puzzle: WS First Christmas Adult Solution

Click on link for Solution to Children’s Puzzle: WS First Christmas Children Solution

 


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There’s a Reason the Road is Less Traveled. People Like Me Can’t Find It.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

road_less_traveled_GNYou know that famous “road less traveled” that M. Scott Peck wrote about? There’s a reason it’s less traveled. People like me can’t find it.

Kind friends refer to me as “directionally challenged.” Others call me names school children are forbidden to use. I’m more of an in-the-moment type of person rather than an observer-of-signs. Being in the moment is tough enough without  navigating simultaneously.

Maps, shmaps. My internal compass has convinced my brain that these statements make perfect sense: 1) NORTH is always the direction I’m facing; 2) SOUTH is always behind me; 3) EAST is to my right; and 4) WEST, to my left. Hey, it works a quarter of the time, so I can’t complain.

Of course, it doesn’t help that I second guess my every turn. You know what they say about second guesses. They’re stupid wrong. By the time I’m lost, it’s too late to determine if my first guess would have been right. Even now, after nine years of living in a small town in southern New Hampshire, every intersection brings a surprise. “Huh. So this is where this road comes out?”

I had my first big, lost adventure as a high school senior. I took a trip from Cape Cod to Providence, RI to visit my boyfriend with his young cousin. I assured her parents we’d be back before dark. As promised, with plenty of time, we got on the road. Which road was the question.

Searching for signs to the highway led me to dead ends and questionable neighborhoods. Each time I stopped for directions, I only remembered the last instruction the gas station attendant had given me me—which is never a good place to start. My young passenger became anxious. As darkness fell, her anxiety turned to fear. So did mine.

Being the older, more responsible one, it fell to me to reassure her. At the next turn, I sang out, “We’re fine! Yup. This looks familiar.” When the street lights grew further apart, I slowed to a crawl and clicked on my brights.

Good thing. We were in a beach parking lot about twenty feet from the ocean. In New Bedford.Road Sign Lost

Many years later, after I was widowed, I realized I had nothing to hold me back from traveling. When I noticed a “Lease Me” sign on a large, van-sized camper, I thought about driving across country. My excitement mounted. My mind raced. My bravado grew. Now all I had to do was run the idea past my friend, Kellie, who had taken on the role of my mentor (a nice word for watchdog. Every widow needs one. Trust me.)

While driving her home one afternoon, I broached the subject positively and coveted her blessing. She pondered the matter for about as long as it took me to miss her exit and circle the rotary three times. I can still see her folded arms and smug stare.

I know I’m not alone in this condition. Once, my friend, Brenda, and I decided to attend a women’s conference in Sturbridge, MA, about two hours away from our home on Cape Cod. We thought if we drove together, one of us could act as the navigator. We soon learned “acting” as a navigator didn’t necessarily equate to being one.

After we backtracked a few exits out of Connecticut, we arrived in Sturbridge and found the sprawling hotel. For three days we trekked up and down endless hallways, the conference rooms eluding us. I was relieved when we reached our destination almost on time for one of the events. Not wanting to disturb the speaker, I opened the door quietly, stepped in, then stopped short. Brenda, hot on my heels, rear-ended me, thrusting us unceremoniously into the small room.

We might have been publically humiliated—if it hadn’t been the janitor’s closet.

When travelling by car with my husband, he does most of the driving.  Okay, all of the driving. But I did offer once on our way to Virginia.

ME, with a pure motive and generous heart: “Want me to spell you for a while?”
HIM, glancing at me with raised eyebrows: “With your sense of direction?”
ME, gesturing with my hand toward the open road: “We’re on the highway! How lost could I get?”
HIM, narrowing his eyes: “What about your other issue?”
ME, my forehead furrowed: “What other issue?”
HIM, treading carefully: “Uh, haven’t you fallen asleep behind the wheel before?”
ME, pointing to the edge of the road, “Yeah, but that’s what rumble strips are for!”

Highway to Heaven Goes Through Jesus

Uh? Oh. I thought this was an artist’s depiction of a road to Heaven. My husband just told me it’s a picture of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I can even get lost in Google.

While on Earth, I’ll have to deal with roundabouts, stop signs, deadends, and plenty of wrong turns. Thankfully, to get to Heaven, all I have to do is hang onto Jesus. He’ll take me the rest of the way.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see. ~ Hymn by John Newton (1779)


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Meet & Greet Author Darin Michael Shaw

MnGDarin Michael Shaw is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” ~ Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

CLARICE: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?Darin Michael Shaw

DARIN: I’ve been writing my entire life. I’ve known I wanted it to be both a career and ministry for the last twenty or so years.

CLARICE: Who supported you in this dream?

DARIN: My wife, family and church families have all been huge supporters of my writing endeavors.

CLARICE: What did you do before you became a writer?

DARIN: I spent 21 years in Pastoral Ministry. It’s only since January of this year (2014) that I’ve been writing full-time.

CLARICE: How did you get involved in writing for publication?

DARIN: Writing, blogging and preaching for years, I suppose it just felt like time to package some of that up in book form—so in 2013, I added author to my bio.

CLARICE: What genre do you prefer to write?

DARIN: Big Buts is non-fiction/Christian living, but I also dabble in other genres. I have a historical fiction title and a ‘how to’ out there. I’ve got a follow-up to Big Buts coming this fall, and I’m working on a religious thriller for 2015 release.

CLARICE: Which authors have influenced your writing and how?

DARIN: Those who’ve influenced me aren’t typical for a Christian writer. My literary coach Ariel Gore has had a significant influence on my craft. She’s helped me find my voice and style. I also very much enjoy the work of Stephen Ambrose, David McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwin. They’re great biographers, but even better storytellers.

CLARICE: What do you want readers to experience while reading your books?

Shaw ButsDARIN: Great story. Whether fiction or non-fiction, to be able to get what I’m trying to convey, and enjoy it as it unfolds—that’s my hope.

CLARICE: What do you want your readers to know about you?

DARIN: I want them to know that I am very, very thankful that they’ve picked up a copy of my book and read it. What a privilege that is for me!

CLARICE: Tell us a little bit about your book Big Buts of the Bible: A Revealing Look at Jesus Christ.

DARIN: But: The little three-letter conjunction that will forever change the way you read the bible.  In 21 years of pastoral ministry I met so many people who wanted to read their bibles more often and get more out of it when they did. I believe this book—this concept, looking for appearances of the conjunction ‘but’—will help.

CLARICE: What is your writing style and/or voice?

DARIN: I consider my writing voice and style a little irreverent—not in a moral or religious way, but in a literary way. I write like I speak, and sometimes that throws grammatical curves. But I am a grammarian at heart—so my voice is grammar irreverent, with a conscience.

CLARICE: Which comes easier to you? Coming up with the story idea or actually writing it?

DARIN: I am surrounded by story at all times. Daydreaming it up comes easy. Writing it is more challenging.

CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you write/share your story?

DARIN: My faith is a part of everything I write.

CLARICE: What writing projects are you currently working on?

DARIN: A follow-up, Big Buts of the Bible: Insights from Hindsight, which will trace the 160 appearances of the word ‘but’ through the book of Genesis. I’m also working on a Native American religious thriller called Ghost Dance.

CLARICE: Where can our readers (or listeners) meet you and get a copy of your book?

DARIN:  I’ll be at the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event with seven other authors from 3:00 to 5:30 pm Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH.