Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Lego My Ego

letto-egoI have a list of a thousand things–all good things–I want to do before I die. Sometimes I think I have to cram them all into one month.

When my activities start to overlap, things get pushed around: my priorities out of order, my finances out of line, my emotions out of control, and my back, well, just out.

I have a ready list of excuses too.

  • If I don’t do this, no one else will.
  • They’re counting on me.
  • It’s all part of marketing my book.
  • But I want to.
  • I’m not getting any younger. [Tell me, is anyone?]

Recently, when my serenity was crowded out by busyness, I had a hard time hearing God’s voice. And I needed to. [Duh.] So I prayed for the Lord to speak loud enough for me to hear over the din of my daily activities. He gave me this personalized paraphrase of 1 Kings 19:11-14 instead.

Go stand over there and be quiet. Don’t check your email or Facebook and stay away from Pinterest. Wait for God to speak.

A reader posted a 5-star Amazon review and bolstered my hopes before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the Amazon review; after the review, a great idea for another writers’ event, but God wasn’t in the event; and after the great idea, positive comments on a blog, but God wasn’t in the comments or the blog; and after the positive comments, a gentle and quiet whisper.

When Clarice heard the quiet voice, she muffled her face with her great lap blanket, went to the mouth of her writing cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Clarice, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Clarice said it again, “I’ve been writing my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of God have turned toward the secular market, destroyed your places of Christian publication, and murdered the written word. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

egoOh, the ego of it all! When I feel like I’m not able to give up some of my activities, writing or otherwise, because there is no one who can possibly replace me, that’s when I know I’m in trouble. OVERBLOWN EGO TROUBLE.

To make it right, I need to let go of my ego and refresh my soul.  So now I’m waiting– really waiting– to hear the Lord’s gentle whisper.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. ~ 1 Peter 2:11-12 (MSG)

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In My Humble Opinion

Humble PieIf you ask me for my humble opinion, I will give you that and more: I will help.

My tagline reads: “Writer ~ Editor ~ Encourager.” I find joy in giving others encouragement, in any way I can, even if I have to force feed it to them.

A few years back, my son told me that his wife would love my help decorating their new house. In the past, I’d helped my daughter and my friends with decorating projects, so this was a task I could handle. Still, as a mother-in-law, I checked with him twice.

As soon as I got his okay, I started making the rounds of my favorite stores, filling my trunk with samples: area rugs, lamps, artwork, pillows, vases, curtains, and blanket throws. I was sure I’d hit the mark with many of my purchases.

Good thing I kept the receipts; I was wrong. Turns out my daughter-in-law did a perfectly fine job on her own.

[I can hear you, you know. Yes, I should have checked with her first.]

In the writer’s critique group I founded, members often ask about the publishing process. I have given talks on it, handed out lists of books on the subject, conducted workshops, and emailed them links to multiple industry-related blogs. “Overwhelm” is the word that comes to my mind—and theirs.

A few months ago, a friend asked me to review their church’s new website. They’d been working on it for a while and needed another set of eyes. I went through every page, read every word, checked every jot and tittle, looked at every graphic, and commented on it all in a five-page report. No half-hearted efforts on my part! I doubt they will ask me again.

Recently, a young man wanted my feedback on his fundraising letter. I attacked the task with vigor, practically re-wrote the whole dang thing. When I was done, it sounded nothing like him, but a lot like me. He used very few of my suggestions. Gee whiz, why not?

My husband is fond of saying, “People really don’t want your opinion; they just want to hear their own opinion in someone else’s  voice.”  I don’t want to believe he is right, but I’m having second thoughts.

Or could it be that I need to dial it back a bit? Perhaps I should ask people to be more specific in their requests? Maybe I could ask myself why I think I know what’s right for them? Or maybe I could just say no?

Or . . . could it be that my humble opinion isn’t so humble? My conundrum: And how will I know when it is?

Tell me, please  . . . in your humble opinion.