Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

Writing Camp ~ Part 2

July 25th, 2013

I can hardly believe a week has past since I was last at writing camp! Picking up where I left of from part 1, I believe I am at Wednesday.

On Wednesday, we had classes again in the morning and then a workshop in the afternoon, getting our poems and stories reading for the reading on Thursday evening.

That afternoon, I took a tour of Murray Library which has over 200,000 books! I also talked with a Messiah alumi illustrator and looked at a large children’s book collection, all done by Messiah alumni.

My workspace!


After the tour was finished, I brought my writing and netbook and worked in the library till suppertime. There was nothing like working in a library, surrounded by books, in the peace and quietness!

Walk to the Library

The bottom picture is one of the many paths that I could take to get to the library. This way was the most direct and the prettiest, in my opinion, with the cobbled road and the pretty tree lined street.



On Thursday, we took a field to the Midtown Scholar Bookstore which is the largest bookstore from New York to Chicago! We had a “picnic lunch” in the bookstore, because of the heat, and then had the afternoon to look at books.

That evening, we did a reading of some of our poems to our family and the rest of the class (which I shall post soon!). All in all, it was a very memorable experience, one that I shall not likely forget! If anyone would have interest in going with me next year, let me know! I would love to have a friend along!


Writing Camp ~ part 1

July 17th, 2013

The week is half over. I find it amazing to think that I have only been here 2 1/2 days, when it feels like a week has gone by. You already received a bit of a teaser on my first day here, so now I shall elaborate more about my classes, lectures, and free time!

A typical class day has classes from 9:15-11:30am and 1-3:30pm. Except for Sunday afternoon, the afternoon classes are workshops meaning we get into a group of four and spend type critiquing each others poetry/stories that we wrote the night before.

The morning time is usually a class time. On Sunday, I had a class on poetry–metaphors, words, sound, & rhythm. Monday we learned about fiction/short stories, and Tuesday morning was another poetry session.

Every session, we would all read a poem or story and then discuss it: the details, metaphors, meaning, plot, characters…

poet : to experience something deeply

I think that is a wonderful definition. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what (or who) to write about. If we think of our experiences and what we know best, that would be a tremendous help.

Think about it: one of the exercises that we did on the first day was to link our name to a metaphor. Then once you got your metaphor, write a poem about it. Don’t think about the rhyme scheme or pattern, just write what is in your heart. Let your voice speak!


In addition to my class time, I also went to many lectures and extra activities. Sunday night, we had a picnic by the creek (which I didn’t get a picture of…). Then on Monday evening, there was a film and discussion with David and Crystal Downing (a professor at Messiah) who talked about the lives of Tolkein and Lewis. Finally, yesterday, I attended a college admission essay session talking about how to write an essay for college admission. That evening, I attended a reading many of the Messiah faculty who are published authors or poets.



All in all, you can see that I am never lacking for something to do! 🙂 I need to head over to the breakfast hall to start the beginning of a another day. Unfortunately, it is supposed to be 101 degrees. Perhaps I shall hang out in the library which is in the close vicinity of my classes. Have a wonderful day! Watch for part 2 and some more of my poems!


God’s Presence in Creation

July 15th, 2013

Sitting outside in a warm breeze

Out on a campus away from home, 

One can’t help but feel slightly alone.

Alone till she closes her eyes and hears birds singing in the trees.

Alone till she sees a robin hopping around looking for worms. 

Alone till she sees the tree, porous bark, but strong and mighty. 

Alone till she sees shadows dancing along the grass.

She looks out and sees tall pine trees reaching up so high.

A crystal blue sky that seems to go on forever.

Puffy white clouds arranged perfectly in the sky.

A warm breeze gently caressing her timid heart.

Yes, she’s not alone anymore.

God is here in everything–she can hear him, feel him, see him.

God is here living in his creation.

In case you haven’t heard, I am here at Messiah College for five days attending a young writers workshop. My professor encouraged us to take a little sneak-away time to think, breathe, and write.  Well, needless to say, I gladly did that! 🙂

All those thoughts in the poem above ran through my head as I sat here from 12:30-1 and again now from 4-5.  I was just amazed when I just sat here quietly, closed my eyes, and listened.

I must say, the first day I was feeling alone and timid, but God has brought such a peace with his wonderfulness that will carry me through the rest of the week.

My challenge to you: spend some time alone outside with nothing but pen and paper. Write what you hear, see, feel, smell, and think. It is a wonderful feeling of renewal.

More about my writing week later!!



Clothing Ourselves in Compassion

July 8th, 2013

Yes, it has been two long weeks and I have no excuses…well, I could probably think up a few, but really, what would be the point?


Anyway, today we will be looking at clothing ourselves with attributes that please God. Col 3:12 NIV says, “Therefore as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Wow, those are a lot of attributes that have to do with our inward and outward actions towards other people! Is it even possible to display all of that? I think it is…but it is very hard and we can’t do it without God’s help. Before we go into more, let’s look at two examples in the Bible of people who demonstrated these attributes.

1. Luke 10:25-37–The Good Samaritan.  Jesus tells this parable about the Good Samaritan that we might see how selfless love is shown. Jesus commands us to love one another and the Samaritan showed that by helping a beaten man and showing him compassion and kindness. (Does those words sound familiar?!?!?)

2.  1 John 2:1 says that Jesus is our advocate; he had such a compassion and love for us, that he died on the cross that we might be able to be with him in paradise. Isn’t that example enough? By showing compassion and kindness and love to those around us, we are following in Jesus’ footsteps.

Now moving to another word in that sentence “clothe.” What does it mean to clothe? Well, the obvious answer is to cover ourselves with clothes so we appear modest. I think that is what Jesus wants us to do. He wants us to cover ourselves with compassion, humility, patience, kindness, and gentleness. How do we do that? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. But, by appealing to God in prayer for a changed heart and then practicing living it out in our lives, we are working toward that goal. God never promised us that changing our hearts would be easy, but he does promise that he will always be with us to help and guide us.


So as we go out this week, how can we show compassion and love to those we meet? It will be a difficult task I’m sure for all of us, but it is well worth the effort, and we know Jesus is with us every step of the way.


Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old