2014 OWL Blog in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 35 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

SHOW ME THE MONEY: A Story About Professional Farts

Think of all the people that annoy you, make you feel “ick,” and those you ignore… God sees both sides. Take the time to see the other side. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord. On that day, we will all stand side by side with those we have ignored, laughed at, and made fun of. And God will tell the stories that we refused to listen to. Make every day count. You have the power to influence the world, and whatever choice you make, you do influence and make a difference. Will it be for good, or for evil?

What will you write in 2015?

writers-group1Many people tell me they want to write a book. They have great ideas and creativity and are excited about completing their book. The problem is they don’t know how to start, stick with it, or stay motivated. It’s a common problem, but it doesn’t have to be your problem.

Being a part of a community of creative thinkers makes all the difference in my life. When I lived in Texas, I was a part of a writing group that met weekly. I didn’t go to every meeting. I only went about once a month, but those meetings inspired me. They still inspire me. I think of the people I met with and the work they did, our talks and our goals. Their support inspired me to take writing to the next level.

When I wrote my first book, Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance, I had a community of support. Angel herself was of course the number one support. We met weekly for interviews and I knew she was counting on me to send her what I wrote each week. And I did.

When I moved to Georgia one of my main concerns was finding a creative community to be a part of, one which shared my values. I checked out a couple of local groups, but nothing drew me. The Lord led me to start a monthly group, which has proved encouraging and has helped me keep going in my writing pursuits.

If you’re in the local area, please check out the Southeast Georgia Christian Writers Group and join us! If you’re not in the area, find a group local to where you live, or start one. If you start talking about your writing goals and dreams, I promise you will find many others around you who share your desires. When you encourage one another, you WILL reach your goals!

If I can help you reach your writing, editing or publishing goals, please feel free to contact me and visit the Our Written Lives website for information.

In which I give #WordPress advice


Welcome to infinitefreetime dot com

(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)

Dear WordPress:

Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit.  I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here.  I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats.  An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.

You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it.  However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it.  It could be…

View original post 634 more words

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury

I love what my friend and fellow-writer John F. Harrison had to say about writing and real life… Read more on his post Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury.

“…Real life is intense. So there is no excuse for writing sterile, emotionally flat fiction. This was a gut-wrenching trial for the complainant, her family, the defendant, and the jurors. . Furthermore, there is intense drama around all of us; people experiencing unspeakable joy, or shattering grief, or blinding rage, or crippling fear. We need only take the time to look around and see it. If our fiction doesn’t provoke strong emotion, it’s because our characters and/or their stories aren’t real enough.”

Love: an active noun, like struggle

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” -Fred Rogers

I Love YouWhat does it mean to love? How do you feel love? How do you show love? Do you feel loved? And possibly more importantly, do the people you love feel your love?

I am afraid to ask the people in my life if they feel my love. I am afraid of the answer. What if they said no?

Too often love feels more like a struggle than it feels like love. “To strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now” isn’t always easy.

What does it mean to withhold love? In my mind it is avoiding another person, refusing to speak, putting them down, not spending time with them, ignoring their cries for help. Maybe these behaviors go beyond “unloving” and fall into the realm of emotional abuse.

Love, to me, is emotional support. I may not be able to fix my loved one’s problems, give them finances, a new job, take away their emotional or physical pain… But I can be there with them through the pain. I can give them emotional support. I can empathize. I can show concern. Express condolences. Bring flowers. Spend time with them. I can accept them right where they are, amidst the struggle, and unselfishly acknowledge life with them.

Today, I will take the time to love someone. I hope you will too.

Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman, owner of Our Written Lives editing and publishing services for independent authors.

Contentment – We are ENOUGH.

174725660513273199_EOC6NDey_fFor the past few weeks, I’ve been writing a four-part Bible study on contentment.As I dug deeper into the Word of God, I was honestly surprised at the depth of what the Word said about contentment. Contentment is one of those concepts I’ve heard all my life, but struggled to obtain.

One of the most striking points I learned in my study on contentment was the original meaning of the word. One Greek word that translates into “contentment” in the King James Version is “Arkeo.” Arkeo is the word found in Luke 3:14, 1 Timothy 6:8, and Hebrews 13:5.

The original definition is very close to our definition of contentment: “to be satisfied or contented with.” But it also takes the meaning of the word to the new depth of: “to be sufficient, to possess sufficient strength, to be strong, to be enough for a thing.”

imagesI often find myself and other people I meet feel inadequate when it comes to facing difficulties in life. We feel we aren’t good enough, strong enough, smart enough, rich enough, or you-name-it enough.

Finding contentment in who God has made us to be isn’t always an easy task. We think a new look, a new car, a new high, a new friend, a new ‘something’ will fill the void and make us “enough.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

We are strong enough for the task God has called us to. God has given us enough strengths and wisdom in His Word to make the right choices for our lives. We are ENOUGH for the day.


Rachael Hartman

Rachael Hartman is a Christian author and publisher. She has worked as a full-time newspaper reporter, and as a freelance contributor to magazines. She writes high school Sunday school material for Word Aflame Press creating lessons for Project 7 (P7) student-led Bible Clubs, and Link247. She enjoys health and exercise, reading, art, and playing with her two dogs Darla and Danny. She owns Our Written Lives of Hope bookstore & publishing services. Check out her web site at www.owlofhope.com and link to her on Facebook.