Sunday, July 15, 2018


Music can be a great source of inspiration for writing.
Even if they know the possibility is beyond remote, most writers must at some point dream of their obscure little novel making it to the big screen. As they write, they envision how a scene might be played out and who would be playing the parts. I’ll admit I do this. And I often go further, imagining the music that would be playing either in the background to enhance the mood or as an integral part of the scene, conveying the overall message of the book. Sometimes, I already know the perfect song to accompany a scene, and it loops in my head as I write. Other times, long after the scene has been written, I’ll hear a tune or lyrics and think Yes! That’s exactly what I wanted to get across.

Music served as a great source of inspiration as I was writing Some Form of Grace. Ever since it’s completion, I continue to hear songs that would be the perfect accompaniment to different scenes. If you’ll indulge me my little fantasy, I’d like to present the soundtrack for Some Form of Grace—the Movie. 

My initial plan was to identify a scene from the book and provide a link to the song I connected to it. But then I feared that might spoil the plot for those who have not yet read the book. And I felt that it might make the experience less personal for those who have read it. Maybe the scene you’d pair with a song is different from my selection. Maybe the song/scene carries a different meaning for you. After all, that’s one of the beauties of literature and music!

So here’s what I propose. If you’ve read the book, think about how you would match it to a particular scene. If you haven’t read it, hopefully the “soundtrack” will spark some interest to do so. Either way, give yourself time to listen and meditate on the music. I think you will find it gives a lift to your day.

The songs here are listed in no particular order. After you’ve listened to them, I’d love to know which scene you connected to a particular song. And if you have a suggestion of your own, please share!
(Sorry for the ads, but I couldn't afford to purchase the rights to all the songs. 😆) 

"Chain Breaker" - Zach Williams 

"Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone" - Chris Tomlin

"Fear is a Liar" - Zach Williams

"No Matter What"- Ryan Stevenson

"Feliz Navidad" - Jose Feliciano
"Merry Christmas from the Family" - performed by Montgomery Gentry (I know, it's a strange choice, but it fits.)
"Grace Flows Down" - Sandi Patty
"Redeemed" - Big Daddy Weave

"Grace Got You" - MercyMe

 "It is Well with my Soul" - performed by Hillsong 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bring on the Brisket!

Every summer for the past twelve (thirteen?) years, my writing group, the Inklings, has gathered for a retreat at Lake Tenkiller. You might have seen my Facebook posts about the beautiful sunsets there or the cut-throat competition to be the reigning Word Wizard.  

Spectacular Lake Tenkiller Sunsets


                                     Our current Word Wizard, Lisa!

However, I don’t think I’ve ever posted about the fabulous food we enjoy, and, let’s be honest, that's one of the highlights of the weekend. In fact, food is usually the first thing we plan.

The eating is always fine at the lake!

Part of that planning is a no-brainer because there are three dishes that have become tradition:
Kelly’s Cornbread Salad
Martha’s Dilly Bread
Roy’s Corned Beef Brisket

I"ll eventually share all of these recipes, but today I’m starting with Roy’s Corned Beef Brisket because it makes a great main course for a July 4th picnic. Roy Bryant began preparing this for the Inklings with our very first retreat, and we’ve insisted on it every year since. Being the nice guy he is, Roy is happy to oblige. In fact, he is so nice, he let me share the recipe. It’s easy and delicious, so if you haven’t yet planned out your July 4th fare, break out that crock pot and get started. 

Roy’s Corned Beef Brisket
3-4 lb. corned beef brisket (I use flat cut)
1 12-oz. bottle chili sauce
1 can or bottle of beer

Place brisket in crock pot, fat side down. Sprinkle spices that came with brisket over top of it. Pour chili sauce over the spices, spreading sauce to cover entire top of brisket. Pour in beer around sides of brisket. Do not wash off any of the sauce from the top of brisket and fill only to the top edge of the brisket. Place lid on crock pot and cook for 8 hours on low. When done, let brisket rest for about 15 minutes before slicing across the grain.

While the brisket is cooking, grab a cool drink, sit back, relax, and give thanks for the privilege of living in the United States of America.

Happy Fourth of July!!!