Photo Friday (well, Saturday) #5–Perishable No More

IMG_4510The verse I selected to go with this photo sounds sort of depressing at first glance: 1 Peter 1:24-25 says,  “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

A real downer, right? Grass doesn’t last—let’s face it. Flowers bloom and die. And people are like grass and flowers?!? Ouch!

This verse is a quotation from Isaiah 40.  And I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m more than the grass and the flowers.

But if we look at how Peter uses this verse in context (always important to do!), we see something pretty cool. Peter is talking about the living hope we have because we are in Christ—and that we should live holy lives. In verse 23, it says, “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” So we, as human blades of grass that are set to just wither up quickly, have been BORN AGAIN, but not with the regular seed that doesn’t last, but with an IMPERISHABLE seed, through the word of the Lord, which “endures forever.”

IMPERISHABLE. Is there anything on this earth that is IMPERISHABLE? I can’t think of anything. I mean, building materials, which last longer than our lifetimes, like stone and steel will not last forever. Even the pyramids will someday crumble. But WE are now reborn of an IMPERISHABLE seed? Wow.

How can this be true? People die every day. Obviously, we do wither and our flowers fall. So how could we be “born again… of imperishable”? If we look at all of 1 Peter chapter one, he says through Christ, we can be born again, and we can be with God in Heaven. And that’s forever. Imperishable.


Peter has an encouragement for us on the tail of this revelation: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

So all of us who have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, let us rejoice and give thanks that we have moved from the perishable to the imperishable. And then, let us live holy lives, as Peter encouraged us to. And maybe we can let our “light shine before others, that they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

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Home. We have a lot of homes in our lives: actual physical structures, places or people  when we feel safe and happy, and even a heavenly home, which we (hopefully) all long to see… Here’s my poem “Home” based on the love of nature I acquired in my childhood home, far removed from the world.Road Home

By Sara Marie Allen

I feel shockwaves of repulsion
at urban houses,
close and small,
neat spaces,
and green oases
in concrete encasements.

My heart pounds
the rhythm of trees swaying.
My lungs fill
with the expanse of growing fields.
My veins swell, coursing with earth,
and my back breaks for hard labor
while my mind flies
to the wild refuge of natural things,
alighting on a stone wall fence
down a winding, dirt road
toward home.

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Blog Tag Q and A

ManuscriptTag! You’re it! (That’s me!) I was tagged by fellow blogger, Michael Gunter, in what is hopefully a fun and personal blog-version of an ultra-cool chain letter.

What is the working title of your next book?
To the Far Side of the Sea. My first title was New Life.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
The morning of 9/11, I thought this would be a good day to disappear in all the chaos. Many ideas later, I had most of my story for Tamara. The reader travels with her as she gets away from her abusive husband and starts her new life, with all new problems. The other half of my book God gave me in a dream, which changed the tone and trajectory of the book: Dominic, Tamara’s abusive, alcoholic husband is the main character of a second parallel plotline. And to tell you the truth, I love his character more than Tamara’s!

What genre does your book fall under?
My book is Contemporary Inspirational Fiction with elements of suspense.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What a fun question! I actually wrote my book to read like a movie script with short scenes and lots of action.

To play Tamara? Think young, like Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato.

Dominic? Maybe Michael B. Jordan, of the show Parenthood… or Jamil Walker Smith…

And Daniel? Does anyone know a young John Schneider look alike???

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
On the morning of 9/11, Tamara decides to let her abusive, NYPD husband, Dominic, believe she died in the North Tower and starts a new life in the wilds of Alaska—but she and Dominic can’t outrun God’s redemptive love.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am seeking an agent/publisher. If that fails to work out or takes too long, I will  self-publish.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

A year and a half of Saturdays, with two good writing months of hard work.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s like Sleeping with the Enemy had a baby with New Year’s Eve that was a cousin to One Tuesday Morning. Honestly, I don’t know any books like mine that are contemporary and inspirational with parallel plot structure and two opposing main characters you end up rooting for…

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always wanted to write a novel—I even plotted out a terrible one when I was about 14… But three people come to mind:

  1. My mother in law, Linda. I first pitched the story to her many years ago, and she said I should write it.
  2. Michael Gunter. He was my first writer friend, and I thought, well, if he can figure out how to do this, maybe I can, too.
  3. Julie Valerie. My writing BFF who was like a writing doula, helping coax characters and scenes from my brain to the page.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
It has elements of suspense, travel, Alaska, NYC, police, addiction/recovery, and 9/11 events… Does any of that sound interesting? Also, there are some unforgettable characters you’ll get to meet along the way…

Thanks to Michael Gunter for tagging me.

These are the authors I tagged:

Julie Valerie

Mary Beth Dahl

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Dear 21 year old self, (part 1)

21 year old meI love you. You’re fun. You love the Lord, and you have so much of life ahead of you. And all of that is good. I have some things to tell you which are really important. I thought you might listen to me because I’m you, only older.

The first thing that I need to tell you is one of the most important: learn to BE and not DO. I know we share the feeling of the brevity of life on this earth, but the answer is NOT to fill it with as many things as you can.

Trust me. This will just make you tired.

I know you think you will look back on your life and wish you had DONE more, but this is not the case. And after spending these years running at full capacity, I can say with 100% certainty it is not fulfilling or God-honoring to try to do so much. There is another way to leave your mark on this world.

If you look at Exodus 3, you can see that God calls himself the “I AM” that “I AM”. God IS, first and foremost. He is “existing one”, Yaweh, in later passages. But here, He calls himself “Ehyeh” the “I AM”. He could have called himself “I DO”, which would have been “Asah.” But instead, He introduces himself to Moses as “I AM.” This is a key point. The One who created Moses and the world–the One who had accomplished more than we humans could ever have imagined, called Himself “I AM.”

Already I can see that as I look back on my life, the things I have done are not as important as HOW I did them. Accomplishments and personal history are starting to blur together in the yarn of years, marked mostly on a calendar. Those projects that seemed so important to complete? I can’t even remember what they were. But I DO remember BEING agitated while I was busy with activity. I remember sometimes BEING snappy to those I love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 lists all these great things we could DO. And then it says if we “have not love,” we have profited or gained nothing. There it is. Again. That idea of BE vs. DO. Scripture spells it out quite clearly: DOING without BEING is a losing situation.

If the pressure is to BE and not DO foremost in your mind, then when push comes to shove, chose BE. Have too much to do? BE lovely first, then DO if you can. Dresser needs to be repainted? Dishes need washing? Kids need help with homework? BE God’s child while you DO that.

So, 21 year old self, I’m no telling you to go be lazy. I’m just saying don’t try so hard. Instead, focus on your motives and the way you are going about your life. I’ve got more to tell you, too, so stay tuned…

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Photo Friday #4… sort of…

devotional pictureHere’s where I may be crossing a line, friends. And if I am, well, sorry. But my photo Friday is the cover of a devotional magazine, which has one of mine in it! To top it off, this is my first paid-for-print. I feel funny writing about this, but I wanted you to know that I have taken a baby step in the world of publishing. Hopefully, it is not an isolated event… And thanks to all of you who support me–and my writing. Feel the love, and celebrate along with me!

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Writing spot

I slipped away to work on another edit of my novel, as I sometimes do on Saturday mornings. When I first started my novel, I had a special writing “spot” I went to regularly (a cozy Panera Bread in Richmond, VA). And in my new city, I have not had a writing “spot”–to be honest, it has been hard to find time to write or edit! But this morning, I went back to my favorite chain bistro (a la new city) to get a lot done.

And, of course, I distracted myself with writing something else. A poem. About writing. You may not care, but writers like me will (hopefully) get it. And then I went back to work.

Writing SpotClose up computer
by Sara Marie Allen

When I’m stuck or tired
Or it’s been a long time,
I hunker down
In my writing spot.
Where the energy
Of food,
Of noise,
Of relationships,
Of coming and going
Infuses me,
A booster for
My isolated soul.
And then I reach out
To those who
Only breathe
On the page,
On my screen,
In my mind.
And they live and laugh and love.

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Photo Friday #3 WWW.

IMG_3093“WWW” usually stands for world wide web, but in Acts 1:8, it stands for “World Wide Witness”: “…you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” The crowd that watched Jesus go up to heaven were told to be HIS witnesses, to tell people what Jesus had done. And many-a-preacher has broken this down as local (Judea), regional (Samaria), and global. Most of us think, I’m not cut out to be a missionary. Fine. But we are ALL supposed to articulate our faith to others. 1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Some way, some how, we need to be a witness either locally, regionally, or globally. I know it’s hard sometimes, but maybe pick one of those, and give it a try? WWW.

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