Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Yahshua The Jew


The above video has beautiful lyrics to celebrate Our Messiah. I pray it blesses you to listen to the group “Lamb” and their excellent worship music.

You can see by the copyright date that I wrote the below poem many years ago. It came about just as I was learning about the Hebrew/Jewish roots of the Christian faith in which I was raised. Learning the Hebrew roots of my faith changed my walk with God more than I can put into words. It made the “Old Testament” come to life for me, and it explained so many of the words of Jesus I had grown up with. Through studying, especially in using The Complete Jewish Bible, I learned that Jesus/Yahshua actually quoted many Old Covenant words as He ministered. I recommend the above study Bible, which also comes with some great notes and appendices. I enjoy it in print and on my Kindle.

I have shared my testimony in previous posts, so I thought it was a good night to share the poem that came from my new understanding of The One who was both The Jewish Messiah and the Christian Messiah I had grown up with.

YAH-SHUA THE JEW

© 1999 By Crystal A. Murray

If Yahshua had come teaching
All the things we teach these days;
If He came not as a Rabbi,
But taught modern “Christian” ways;

If He said, “Stop being Jewish
For their laws & feasts are old;
Just form a church on Sundays
And give the pastor all your gold.”

If He taught multi-religions,
And many-faceted beliefs & ways
Religious & sin tolerance:
No judgment, no prices to pay;

If He taught that love means acceptance
No matter what other people do,
Would ANYone have believed in Him
As Messiah, King of the Jews?

See, it’s not the miracles He did,
Or the hungry that He fed.
Or His interpretation of the Scriptures,
Or any fancy words He said,

It’s the old, anointed, prophecies,
The promises of a virgin-born Son,
That proved He was THE Messiah,
Lion of Judah, and The Holy One.

‘Cause He could not have grafted anyone;
Into a vine of Love, pure and true,
If He, Himself, was not The Vine,
The Lamb, Son of Yahveh, and a JEW!

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Bible, Creativity, Nonfiction, Poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Haiku My Day


Color Splash Daisies with Haiku

Poetry, Haiku Style: A Simple Way to Paint Pictures with Words

I use a diary app on my phone (Journey–Diary Journal) to write a haiku about my day as the last thing I do each night. I title each entry, Haiku My Day, and I enjoy this daily challenge. When I was in school, I hated it (like so many others) but now it’s one of my favorite forms of verse because of the simple format and forced focus. When I first taught it to my writer’s group, they groaned like I was one of the elementary teachers they remembered forcing this non-rhyming poetry on them as children–until the class was over. Then, they understood the following list of things writers can learn from creating haiku.

As a result of writing haiku…

  • You will be more apt to notice, or be aware of, the present moment, (something important for every writer);
  • You will realize the POET-ential (potential) of each moment for settings to be used in stories and articles.
  • You can recapture some of the keen and vivid perception you had when you were young and everything was new and wonderful and worthy of further investigation, or at least of telling the world around you about. (Which is why we become writers in the first place, right?)
  • You will have a heightened and deepened appreciation of life & nature, and how to paint them with word pictures.

Let’s begin with an answer to the question: What is haiku?

Haiku are Japanese in origin but have made their mark in American poetry where they traditionally consist of seventeen syllables, written in three lines that are usually divided into 5, 7 and 5 syllables, respectively. In Japanese haiku, there is always a nature theme. To express this, each haiku will use what is called a kigo (season word) to indicate the season in which the Haiku is taking place.  For example, flowers & butterflies can indicate spring; snow & ice, winter; mosquitoes & lightning bugs, summer; and multicolored leaves, autumn. But in writing Americanized haiku, no topic is off limits.

Matsuo Basho, (1644-1694), considered the greatest master of this form of poetry, said the poet should write directly from his own experience and should try to seek the deeper, inner life of the subject or moment’s activity.  He stated, “Learn of the pine from the pine: learn of the bamboo from the bamboo.” It is important to use your first impression, exactly as it was when you write about subjects taken from daily life.

Here’s a haiku I wrote the day I created the first lesson. For my examples, I’ll put the syllables in parentheses after each line. See if you can determine where I was while preparing.

…Quiet all around, (5)

…Just a whisper here and there; (7)

…People reading books. (5)

You likely figured out I was in a library. Now, here’s a set of haiku (called a renga) I wrote for the four seasons. See if you can figure out which season is represented by each.

…A cup of cocoa, (5)

…Flames blaze in a fireplace; (7)

…I am warmed inside. (5)

 

…New blossoms on trees, (5)

…Pink, white, purple, and yellow; (7)

…Generate new life. (5)

 

…The sidewalk is hot, (5)

…I do not have shoes to bear it; (7)

…I walk on the grass. (5)

 

…Feeding time is done, (5)

…The green has left the trees; (7)

…Look at the colors. (5)

I have plenty more, but now it’s your turn. Here are some suggested haiku exercises.

  • Look around you right now and write one or more haiku about something you see. Think of it like playing twenty questions and answer some of the base questions. Then, see if someone else can figure out what you’ve written about.
  • Write your own set of four three-line verses describing the four seasons.
  • Think of two things that are opposites of each other: trust and fear; peace and war; rich and poor; tall and short; loud and quiet; hard and soft, etc. Now write a haiku that shows their differences.  Try to get it into one three-line verse.  Choose new opposites to write more verses. Here’s an example of an opposite haiku…

…Heat waves in the air, (5)

…Icicles aim for the ground; (7)

…Opposite seasons. (5)

  • Think of two things that are like each other or that complement each other: faith and trust; peace and quiet; rage and violence; water and liquid; silk and satin; music and lyrics; etc. Write a haiku to draw attention to their similarities.
  • Write about the most beautiful thing you can ever remember seeing. Make it visual enough for others to clearly see the same thing in their minds.  If you’re tossed, don’t worry.  Just write more than one haiku.

Try this form of writing to bring focus to a character or subject you may be struggling with. If you write a haiku you are willing to share, please comment on this post and let others see it. I’m excited to see what my readers might share.

 

August 10, 2016 Posted by | About Writing, Creativity, Nonfiction, Poetry, Wordy Winsome Wednesday | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Colors, Your Colors


Cool PicsArt Edits on Colorfy Flower--Framed

Sometimes, I think my mind has an invisible “Energizer Bunny” running overtime with thoughts and ideas. And yet, for this Musably Monday post, I’m struggling to bring just one idea to the page. It’s like trying to decide which digital crayon to use for the Colorfy app pictures.

Of course, for the picture above, I did pick some colors to play with, and I had fun creating patterns. It’s colorful enough for me to be satisfied, but then I found the PicsArt app on my phone and had to further personalize the picture with some creative effects. And then I added one last frame with PhotoStudio. It’s a good thing all these apps are free because otherwise, it could cost a pretty penny just to make something fit my eclectic tastes.

Having our own thoughts and ideas about a subject is what makes each of us individual. As long as our individual ideas do not disrespect Our Creator, or bring harm to others, they should be fine to entertain. If you want to make orange leaves with purple outlines, there’s no harm in that. This was my first digital coloring image, so maybe that’s why I felt the need to stay with traditional colors on the leaves, but I did enjoy throwing extra creativity into the flowers.

Speaking of individuality, yesterday hubby and I decided to rewatch Babe on Netflix. (Yes, the movie about the cute little pig.) We hadn’t seen it in over 10 years, and I had forgotten how much I really liked it. The idea that a pig could suddenly become valuable as a “sheep-pig” is way off the beaten path. But, not only does the pig do a fine job at leading the sheep, he also protects them and becomes their friend. If you haven’t seen it in awhile, I recommend pulling out your copy and popping it into the DVD player. If you don’t have a copy, it’s available for rent or purchase on Amazon Video.

As I watched the movie, one of the hardest parts for me was when the frenzied crowd ranted against the farmer and his pig. They had no idea what that little pig could do, and they raged against the idea of anything different than the normal sheepdogs they were used to. But Farmer Hoggett stood his ground, seemingly undaunted by the criticisms of all those around him, because he was confident in what his pig could do. And once the truth was known, even the crowd came around to another way of thinking.

This is a lesson for me. I have always been the odd duck with different thoughts and ideas than most everyone else. But I have also felt driven to fit in. I have bent to please people on many occasions, and it has not turned out so well. I need to remember both the farmer and his pig, and I need to stand in confidence that my ideas and colors are okay even if they don’t match your ideas and colors. As a matter of fact, if you have created any of these digital coloring pages with an app and uploaded it, please include a link in the comments and let me know where I can see your colors.

 

August 8, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Musably Monday, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Now For A Word from my Sponsor


My Sponsor is the One who gave me breath for life, so taking time out to seek His presence and thank Him for all the moments and minutes He gives me is only natural. I cherish all His creations and the joy I find in them. His word on the first Sabbath in Genesis 2:2-3 is…

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

For a Sabbath day’s rest, my first Sabbatically Saturday post will simply be the pictures I took yesterday along with some creative editing. Relax and enjoy God’s gifts of nature and creativity, and share with me if you do some creative work of your own.

Pic 1, Naked Ladies (Belladonna Lillies) from my front yard. These soft pink beauties are all over the neighborhood right now too.Naked Lady Flower with Macro Attachment--Sm 4 WP

Pic 2, I wanted to catch the flowers while they still had some water from the earlier rain, and I got some, but then I cheated and decided to use the KVADPhoto+ raindrop filter to add a little more to it. While I was at it, I thought a nice bamboo frame and a bit more saturation went nicely with the raindrops.Naked Lady Flower with KVAD Edits and & Bamboo Frame--Sm 4 WP

Pic 3, When I have a nice contrast in an image, I really have fun getting out the Fractalius plugin and seeing what all images it will create for me. It takes my love of fractal and colorful design and adds it to real world images. What more could I ask for?

Naked Lady Flower with Macro Attachment--Fractalius Edit and Frame--4 WP2

Naked Lady (Belladonna Lily) with Fractalius Edits & Framing

Pic 4, Another Fractalius image with a bit more color and a nice vignette and frame from Irfanview. Fractalius Naked Lady--Sm 4 WP

Pic 5, And we’ll end this with a kaleidoscope made from one of the fractalized flowers because, after all, it is #KaleidoSaturday on Twitter.Fractalius Bright Naked Lady into Kaleidoscope--Sm 4 WP

August 6, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Nonfiction, Photography, Sabbatically Saturday | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photo Fun–A Gift for My Sister


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Welcome to my Friday blog post where, sticking with my pattern of daily alliteration in my titles, it is time for Fun and Flourishing Friday. Since I’m planning on Fridays being posts of fun, photography, family, etc., this one lines up perfectly with edits done to a picture of my sister and her husband. Plus, the fancy frame even allows for the definition of flourish.

I had a great day where I got a bit more exercise and activity according to my Samsung SHealth app. As part of that activity, I took a bunch of pictures in my front yard, and while I was working on some creative edits, I changed my mind midstream. I’m kinda known for doing things like that. It’s a woman thing and an Adult ADD thing, so…oh, look, another idea popping in.  🙂 Not really, but really. My mind is always racing with new ideas and running down a variety of rabbit trails.

Anyway, I remembered I had a picture from my little sister’s recent vow renewal ceremony out in Arizona. She and her husband celebrated their 33rd year of marriage, and since I couldn’t be there for the event, I asked for a lot of pictures.

Well, Candie is normally the photographer for her church, but as the subject of the photos, she couldn’t be the one to take them. I don’t know how many people she passed the camera to, but she ended her day with a variety of nice pictures. Unfortunately, only a few were of just her and her hubby Steve together. The best one also had half a word and some wall decor behind them. That’s the first image in the slideshow above.

I cut the image to a size that would print for an 8 x 10 landscape, but I had not yet been successful in removing the letters and design. I’m not practiced in using the cutting tools to cut and paste an image yet, but the new Photoshop Elements 14 has a “refine selection” tool that makes a big difference, so I hope to use that method in the future. For this one, I simply copied and pasted plain wall portions over the decorated wall. I use the free software from Irfanview for simple editing, so shadowing and colors aren’t perfectly even, but a little work with the cloning tool took the square lines out. From there, I opened the image up in my KVADPhoto+ Pro desktop app from the Microsoft Store. (Note: links are for ease of reference only unless they link to Amazon where they include my affiliate info.)

Image two in the slideshow reveals the heart bokeh I placed over the walls to soften the background and add some color. That took two different effect filters, and half the fun is seeing what an image looks like with the different filters until I find one or two that seem perfect. For this, white hearts and then colored hearts worked well together. In addition to that, I added a simple frame to make the picture printable as an 8 x 10 for my family that doesn’t use the Internet. The frame is perfect because it includes some dainty lace, and my little sister loves all things lacey and Victorian.

The last image was the simplest, though I went through a variety of frames to get to it. For that one, I surrounded the previously edited and framed image in another Photo+ frame that I thought would look good for when my sister wants to share her pic online. We’ll see which one she likes best, and feel free to comment on the one you like best too.

Shabbat Shalom to all my readers, and may this fun and flourishing Friday finish your week in peace and joy.

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Fun & Flourishing Friday, Nonfiction, Photography | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Me Brainstorm a Better Brand


 

TLIME PLUS GEORGIA - 800 x 668 Logo with Text

The Lord is My Editor–Logo with Text

For this week, I want to share some of the ideas I’ve come up with for branding. More than that, I earnestly seek your opinions on these ideas, so I can finally create a brand from which to focus on future projects and marketing.

My problem with branding (and so many other things in life) is all about my eclectic tastes and personality. I don’t seem to fit into any of the usual molds. I write poetry, haiku, novel-length fiction, short stories, articles, lyrics, haiku, devotions, Bible studies, and have a couple books I’d like to do about bands. Oh, and I’ve got an old project for Christian writers I’d like to revive. In addition to writing, I edit, photograph, create graphic designs (like wallpaper and kaleidoscopes), do web design, run a local Christian writer’s group, and volunteer for the planning of a state writer’s conference. If I added all the work experiences in my life, this post would get way too long.

So, how do I create a brand when my creative desires are all over the map? You might say, “Pick a favorite,” but most of them are favorites and all of them have probably been a favorite at one time or another. On my business cards, I finally opted for the following line: “Writer–Editor–Creative Mind” and I added the words in the logo above. I was told by an agent at a conference that “The Lord is My Editor, I Shall Rewrite” is not actually a brand, and she came up with “Stories that Need to be Told” as an option. Most everyone in the group liked that one, but when I did research, I found it was already used quite a bit.

All this brings us to my own brainstorming. I have come up with 10 possibilities in addition to the one from the agent. I created a poll to allow readers to choose up to three favorites so I could use a weighted voting technique to help me select the best idea. Would you please choose your favorites, and/or add your own suggestions, to help this eclectic gal toward a final brand? In addition, you are welcome to comment on your choices and your suggestions. Thanks so much, and I truly appreciate all comments and ideas.

 

August 3, 2016 Posted by | About Writing, Creativity, Nonfiction | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Creative Images & Fun Apps


In my effort to blog daily, I’m finding myself taking more time than I plan ahead and ending up far later at night than planned, but I’m gonna stick with this. That said, here’s my Tech Time Tuesday submission.

I love to play with graphic programs and apps, especially if they make colorful and kaleidoscopic designs. The designs themselves are a bit of technology, but to stick with a true techy theme, I’ll share just a few of the apps and sites I use to create and have fun.

For starters, because of copyright laws, I suggest always using your own images as a base to create from. That means you’ll need some kind of camera, and the higher quality images you start with, the higher quality graphics you’ll end up with. If you just cannot find anything of your own to use, make sure you use something with a Creative Commons.org license that does not prevent derivative images. (See the CC site link above for explanations of the various licenses.) And if the CC license requires anything (such as attribution–giving credit to the original photographer, or share-alike–repeating the same CC license in your final product), be sure to uphold such requests.

I put together this mosaic of designs from the images I created from the top left picture of a stack of colored chains. The pink, black, and white chains were actually a necklace, and I was very happy with the colorful designs I was able to make. Here’s my mosaic from the creative and fun website called Big Huge Labs

Hi Res Chain Scopes Mosaic2

Necklace Kaleidoscope Mosaic

Now for the technical part. (Note: I’ll add links to make it easier for readers to find the sites. Also, know that links to Amazon are short links with my affiliate information. If you decide to purchase from Amazon, it helps me a little if you use my links. Thanks.

First, I used an app called “Kaleidoscope Lime Pro” that I downloaded from the Google Play Store to make the circular mandala designs as well as the tiled tessellation designs. I love how one picture can create so many images, and I play with this app often when I’m waiting somewhere with my phone. There is a free version of the app, but for 99 cents, I found it worth supporting the developer to continue to make quality apps such as this. I have used it on both a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Note 5, and both worked perfectly. You may even find my Note 3 review when you view the app.

Next, I used a slightly newer app I’ve had since May called “Photo Studio Pro” that I got from the Amazon App Store. I also opted for the pro version on this to support the KVAD developer and to have access to all the extra options. The PIP (picture in picture) options just came out recently, and that is what made the image above where you see my original kaleidoscope mandala inside a glass with a flower at the bottom. The image above with the cupcakes is done with one of the KVAD frames.

And that’s about it for this Tech Time Tuesday. Download some apps, make some images, and upload them to a safe site like Flickr or Google+, then come back and share some links with me. If the sites and images are safe, clean, and family friendly, I will approve your comments so others can visit your images too.

August 2, 2016 Posted by | Creativity, Nonfiction, Tech Time Tuesday | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Effective Efforts


Christmas Crochet Clock Face by Crystal A Murray, All Rights Reserved

Christmas Crochet Clock Face by Crystal A Murray, All Rights Reserved Click the image to open a new tab/window to visit my CafePress Christmas store.

I’ve made a strong effort with this blog since August of 2013. I think I’ve been trying to make up for the years I had it and barely wrote. But I need to make a change. There have been times where I have spent so long trying to come up with just the right topic, that I couldn’t post in a timely manner. If I want a good picture to go with it, that takes even more time.

Am I quitting? No way. I will still make an effort to get something posted every day, but it’s going to become more “slice of life” stuff with some good lessons mixed in as I learn them from a variety of sources. Maybe I’ll throw in a haiku or other type of poem now and then. Sometimes, I’ll post my photography or creative images. I just don’t want people surprised if all of a sudden there’s not deep Bible study on every single post.

Tonight and last night, I’ve been thinking about time and my use of it, hence the clock face above which is a blend of my creativity and a representation of time itself. I’m thinking about the efforts I put into the minutes and hours of my day. For example, I actually started this post early enough tonight to get done before midnight, but some unexpected issues came up that made it impossible to post as planned. I guess God is reminding me that time is in HIS hands and not my own. (By the way, if you click the image, it will take you to my Christmas shop at CafePress. It’s mostly coffee cups, but I do have this clock face on an actual clock there.)

Anyway, as my title says, I want the efforts I make in this life to be effective. What does it mean to be effective? To me it will mean that the things I do have some type of lasting value. I am bombarded by things I want to do, things I need to do, and things I should do. I have to prioritize them based on those that have the greatest value now and later. I want to watch the nice G-Rated Christmas movies by Hallmark while they’re in season. Some of them have life lessons that inspire me long after their viewing. Also, I need to send Hanukkah and Christmas cards. I take longer because I like to write personal notes in them to let people know they are more than just names on a list. And, I should get out and do some shopping before it’s too late.

Here’s some more. Want: I want to either call or Facebook message all the family and friends that have current events going on in their lives. Maybe they’re having birthdays, maybe anniversaries, maybe fighting illnesses, maybe suffering loss, or maybe they’ve just released new writing I want to read. Need: I need to plan for our upcoming Christmas dinner for our writer’s group. That includes making updates on our website and contacting everyone on the e-mail list. Should: These are the things on my want list, like reading the works of writer friends, but with a bit more oomph and importance.

What about you? Do you struggle with all the stuff you want to do with your gift of creativity and all the stuff you need to do to keep life up and running? I want to make more products for my Zazzle store, not because I make much there, but because I’m energized by being creative. I need to watch the lessons I’ve purchased on using my Scrivener software, so my purchase is valuable and so I can share information with others in my writer’s group. Helping others energizes me too.

Under both creativity and helpfulness, it has been requested that I compile my posts on Torah reading for those who want to read it in print all in one place. I want to do it, but it will be some work because of things like Bible version permissions. I’ll have to change some of what I wrote to go with the King James’ Version of the Bible or get permission to use the full text from the Complete Jewish Bible. If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, do you think I should do a book on those posts? If so, would you read it? Should I seek permissions to keep the text from the CJB? Please comment below just to help me hone my “to do” list and get the important and effective efforts pushed closer to the top. Thanks.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | Creativity, Nonfiction, Slice of Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

Go - Gather - Grow

Sharing the Word of God One by One

Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

Learning to follow Christ one day at a time

Hallelujah

Thinking about all the reasons we have for praising our LORD.

Cladach Publishing

Producing and Providing Christian Books from Our Shore to Yours

For Birds & Tea

A blog about the day to day of a writer, a fighter and an ornithological admirer.

Fellowship of the Minds

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

The Narrowing Path

walking together in truth and love.

Writing Prompts &Thoughts & Ideas...Oh My!

Follow Your Yellow Brick Road

Happy Eco Mama

Green parenting, positive psychology and connecting our little ones to the natural world

Create With Joy

Infuse Creativity In All You Do

thefrontwindow

BEST SELLING AUTHOR OF ..........

Sly Twin Tiger

do not draw attention to yourself

Above All Else

Thoughts from Katie Foster

Crystal Writes A Blog

A place to read what Crystal writes

Editor

Simply beautiful publishing powered by WordPress.

THE WORD on The Word of Faith (a GroupBlog)

BREAKING FREE from The Word of Faith Movement & telling the World about it! TELL US YOUR STORY

Write One Real Life

Where writing meets faith in the real world.

behind the lens

the view from the other side of the window

Blaire McDaniel

Finding God in the Gray.

The Matt Walsh Blog

Absolute Truths (and alpaca grooming tips) **Facebook.com/MattWalshBlog

Buy Wall And Floor Tiles

Know more about Tiles

On Faith and Writing

A Daughter of the King

Christian Design and Video Share

A great WordPress.com site

Wordsmith's Desk

some thoughts along the way

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

By the Blood of the Lamb

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb...

Iris Grace

Iris Grace Painting

Today's Author

Fostering a community of creative writers through articles, comments, writing prompts and a healthy, supportive environment.

Redeemed Hippies' Place

Trying to Keep it Real in an Unreal World

Louisville Christian Writers blog

For members of LCW to spread their blogging wings or reblog their own posts.

Monica Mynk

Stories of Broken Girls, Seeking Love, Finding His Truth

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Women: Each One A Survivor

Enjoying Every Moment

Jessie Jeanine

A survivor inspired by the tragedies and triumphs of life.

DiscernIt

Deut 32:28 "They are a nation without sense, there is no discernment in them."

mixedbrainwriting

Messages from both sides of my brain.

Lisa Preuett~Rest Stop for the Soul

"COME TO ME ALL WHO ARE WEARY AND BURDENED AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST" Matthew 11:28

Life's Highs & Lows

Michael C. Mack's Blog about Living Life to the Fullest Despite the Circumstances

Lana H. Jackson

Step Into God's Love

searchinghisword

Searching His Word; Seeking His Heart

WordServe Water Cooler

A community of agented authors encouraging, engaging, and enriching others throughout their writing journey.

Sola Dei Gloria

Sola Dei Gloria

Garden Devotions

Learning Spiritual Lessons through Gardening

%d bloggers like this: