Category Archives: Random

Schedule Change

Things have been different here on my blog lately, and it’s time to redefine the schedule. On Tuesdays, you may find a book review. On Fridays, another post or guest post. Some weeks there may be a gap, if I don’t have anything particular I’d like to share.

Almost nine years ago, I started posting weekly devotionals, and every week God showed me something that I could share, usually something I needed for myself as well. Sometimes it didn’t come until Tuesday evening for a Wednesday morning post, but it always came. (Except for the one week when He sent me back to a previous post I needed to re-read, so I re-posted that.)

It reached the point where I didn’t stress if nothing had appeared yet, because He always provided. That’s how I knew the devotionals were something He wanted me to write, and I committed to share them every week as long as He gave them.

When nothing came even by bedtime on a Tuesday not long ago, I thought, okay, this is a new stretch. Maybe first thing in the morning. I like to schedule my posts ahead of time, but perhaps the lesson was in flexibility.

Wednesday morning’s reading and prayer time brought nothing: no insight to share, no stress, just a surreal sense of… nothing.

My prayer for these posts has always been, “Lord, let me hear what You say. Don’t let me make anything up.” So there was no devotional post that day. Nor has there been one since.

Not that He’s stopped teaching me, but there’s been nothing to share here. It feels like that door has closed, and I’m okay with that. Surprised, but okay.

Is this an end of a season, or a hiatus? I guess we’ll find out in time. For now, I’m grateful for the privilege to have been part of what He was doing in this way, and I’m grateful to those who’ve occasionally let me know how He used something I said in their lives. Those are the reward moments for a writer.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. I’m still writing, working on my first Green Dory Inn Mystery, and there’s a nonfiction project in the works, too.

Devotional-wise, God will continue blessing and teaching and challenging you through other voices. His love, mercy, and saving power is greater than we can imagine.

If you haven’t yet discovered them, here are my three favourite devotional resources:

I can’t pass up the opportunity to share one last song. There are so many to choose from, but let’s go out with one that celebrates God’s character and His tenacity: “God Undefeatable,” from Todd Agnew.

Without Proof Short-listed for Award

Without Proof [Redemption's Edge 3]The Word Awards short-list is out, for work published in 2015. I’m excited that Without Proof is one of the three novels in the Suspense category.

I’ve read the other two novels in that category, and they’re excellent reads: Shadow of a Butterfly, by J.A. Menzies, and Desperate Measures, by Sandra Orchard.

You can see the full list of books, articles, songs etc here: The Word Awards short-list. Results will be announced in June.

Cocoa White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Each novel in my Redemption’s Edge series has a recipe that’s significant to one of the characters. In Secrets and Lies, Carol does a lot of baking, at the café where she works, at home, and even a private catering stint. Baking is one of her coping mechanisms, and if she can give away the results, it’s less for her to eat. These are similar to the cookies she dropped off at Joey’s radio station for him and his co-workers. Recipe: Cocoa White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies (from Secrets and Lies, Redemption's Edge Book 2)

Celebrating Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Here’s a song you may not have heard: A Day of Glory, from Austin Stone Worship‘s album of the same name. (One of my favourite Christmas albums)

 

If You Love Christian Music

I think it was 2008 that I first heard Geoff Moore sing. I went home and forgot his name, his songs… but I remembered this guy who sang like he loved the Lord, so much that he practically glowed with it. When he came back to Halifax with Steven Curtis Chapman in 2011, I didn’t recognize his name. When he started to sing, I knew him.

I loved the songs he sang that night, bought his new album, Saying Grace, and loved it so much that I ordered some of his older material online. Buying a CD when you’ve just experienced a live performance is risky, as a couple of dusty cases in my stack will prove. But his songs fit into my soul at first hearing like they’d been there all along.

If you’ve followed many of my Wednesday devotionals, you’ve noticed I end each one with a YouTube video of a song related to the message. These are often songs I’m especially fond of, and every so often one of those songs is from Geoff Moore.

He’s planning a new album, and he’s funding it through Kickstarter. It’s called New Stories, and this is what he says in summary:

This August, 31 years after making my first album, I will be heading into the studio to make my 15th album. It will be an album of songs that explore the things I love; about the thoughts on my mind, the people in my heart, and the God in whom I believe in.

This project is only open for funding until August 30, so check out the details now while there’s time. If the video clip below doesn’t work, or for more details, head over to the Kickstarter campaign page. [If you’re not familiar with Geoff Moore’s music, he’s offering Saying Grace free at NoiseTrade for a limited time. Listen to the music: “I Believe,” “Loved” and “The Wonder of Kindness” are my favourites. If you love it, support this next album.]

If you’ve never been part of a Kickstarter campaign, it’s painless. It’s kind of like pre-ordering the final product. There are various levels of support, and if the project isn’t fully funded, you don’t lose your money. I’ve picked up a few albums and other products this way.

[Note: if you support this campaign, I gain nothing — except that when it’s fully funded, I’ll get the CD that I pledged for.]

Our Part in the Whole

Some of us like teamwork, and others prefer to work alone. As an introvert – and a writer – I’m used to solitary efforts. Even there, it’s good to know I’m connected to friends and co-labourers. We need one another, for support, encouragement, and perspective.

Volunteers painting a concrete barricade wall in Saint John, NB, May 2015

I took this photo when my husband and I were in Saint John, NB, in May. These volunteers worked together to repaint the city’s Marigolds Mural and turn it back into a feast of colours for locals and tourists to enjoy.

Nobody’d want to do the whole thing, but together 150+ volunteers did it in a day. I don’t think any of them were professional artists. It doesn’t matter. They saw a need, and they met it. (You can read CBC’s coverage here: Marigold mural revived in Saint John.)

Here’s more of the wall:

Volunteers painting a concrete barricade wall in Saint John, NB, May 2015

What could you or I do, that may not seem like much but could be part of a greater whole? Little contributions add up.

Tea and Spontaneity

My husband and I can offer visitors over 50 varieties of tea, from one of perhaps 10 pots, in any of a frighteningly large number of mugs or cups. [If that worries you, well it worries me too and I’m on a new mission to downsize our tea capacity — since I don’t want to open a tea room!]

Suffice to say, we love our tea. So this building was iconic to me when I saw it recently in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Red Rose Tea Building, Saint John, NB

Red Rose Tea Building, Saint John, NB “Only in Canada, you say?”

Here’s a link to Red Rose’s history of tea.

You can’t read much of this photo, but part of the text explains that King Cole tea originated with Barbour’s General Store.

Harbour Passage's tourist information: A Legacy of Tea

Here’s a link to Barbour’s history of King Cole tea. Writing this post, I discovered there’s actually a tea museum in the General Store. That would have been fun to explore when I was wandering around the city. (I did have a mighty fine cone of gelato, though.)

On a somewhat related note, check out what my brother and sister-in-law gave me for my birthday.

Teacup-shaped planter with pansies

So that’s the tea. Where’s the spontaneity? We were in Saint John for a Barbershop competition (my husband co-directs the newly-formed Halifax Harmonizers (who took second place) and sings in two quartets (September Sound competed and also took second place in their event). The competition was held in the gorgeous and historic Saint John High School. The school has flat, wide, marble banisters. Without those nasty impediments most schools put at the bottom to discourage sliding.

Blurred image of Janet sliding down the banister

Janet in action: moving too fast for the camera!

My Current Work-in-Progress

This is the final installment for the Writers’ Blog Hop, and what more appropriate way to end than with a look at the participating writers’ current works-in-progress? (Link to the others at the end.)

This blog is a work in progress, needing a review, devotional and feature post every week. But that’s pretty self-evident.

I’m also working on the next Redemption’s Edge novel, Secrets and Lies. Different characters, different situation, but suspense and danger will ensue. There may even be some romance… 

Here’s my current one-line summary:  A single mother struggles to rein in her teenage son, guard her heart against two charming men, and keep a drug lord off her back.

If you read Heaven’s Prey, you may remember references to Harry’s sister, Carol. This is her story, and it takes place between the final chapter and epilogue of Heaven’s Prey.

What would it be like to live with the public shame of having a dangerous offender for a brother? What if his enemies, who can’t get at him easily, decide to target Carol and her son? And what if this single mom has to handle all this in her own strength, because she’s afraid to pray for help?

Let me introduce you to a few of my imaginary friends, the ones I’m spending time with these days.

  • Carol Daniels: Starting fresh in a new city, she doesn’t want anyone to connect her with her past.
  • Paul Daniels: At sixteen, he’s living a double life to keep peace at home.
  • Patrick Stairs: A successful investment consultant, he’s been walking empty since his wife died.
  • Joey Hill: Friendly and easy to talk to, he’s the late-night deejay at Carol’s favourite radio station.

Four people with secrets. One of them’s telling lies. Secrets and Lies releases this November from Choose NOW Publishing.

Blog hop for writers

Here’s the link to the other participants in the blog hop. Thank you to Ruth L. Snyder for organizing this. It’s been fun to get to know the other “hoppers.”

Renovations and a name change

renovations

Photo credit: Janet Sketchley

This blog started in March, 2008, as God With Us: Finding Joy, sharing weekly devotionals. It grew to include posts on Christian living and reviews of Christian fiction.

But I found myself reading more speculative fiction, which didn’t seem to match my review-readers’ interests. So I started a second blog, speculative, sporadic… and slightly odd, to indulge my inner odd.

There was enough overlap between the blogs that I’ve decided to merge them. There are Christians who enjoy speculative fiction. If that’s not you, I hope you’ll still find some posts here to enjoy… and consider coming back (or subscribe to future posts).

So… newly-merged blogs, new template with customized menu (WordPress tutorials rock)… a new title seems appropriate.

Welcome to Tenacity: thoughts on faith and fiction.

Why tenacity? Well, it’s a short name, but it says a lot. Patience, perseverance, in it for the long haul. Tensile strength, even. Those are all things we need. Things I need and will probably keep talking about.

The background image I’ve chosen only shows the edges, but the complete photo is of a small wild rose growing in a cleft in a granite boulder. Tenacity.

Wild Rose in Granite
Photo credit: Janet Sketchley

If you have this blog bookmarked or you subscribe in a feed reader, thank you and don’t worry about making a change. The link address isn’t changing (janetsketchley.wordpress.com). If you get posts via email, thank you and you still don’t have to make any changes, just please don’t delete “Tenacity” or mark it as spam. It’ll still be me, just under a new blog title. Either way, consider stopping by the site to see the new layout. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. (Thanks, WordPress crew!)