I struggle with wanting to give in to our society’s endorsement of individualism. My natural tendency is to make life about me and my tidy comfort zone. Maybe you do too.
Expressing love from a distance is oodles easier and less awkward than responding to up-close and personal opportunities to reach out to others. You with me?
Let me introduce you to my friend, Loree Johns.
Loree, a Write Brilliant buddy and one of my iron sharpeners, is an interior designer who offers inspiration for your heart and your home, earning her the title Decorating Devotional Gal. Loree and I met in person in Park City, Utah, last summer at the Write Brilliant live event for online academy participants.
I opted out of the bobsled ride, but not Loree. And I couldn’t think of a better time to share her story than the week the 2018 Winter Olympics kick off.
by Loree Johns
How bad could the bobsled ride be?
If the Utah Olympic Park let the public sign up it must be safe, though the list of health warnings on the ticketing site hung half a page long. When anxiety threatened to tangle with my peace, I stuffed anxiety into my back pocket.
At our Park City, Utah, writer’s conference, the Write Brilliant mantra was, “The answer is always YES!”
The Write Brilliant team encouraged us to step away from our norm during the afternoon breaks and seek adventure.
The adventure that kept jumping out at me was the Olympic bobsled. (more…)
On the last day of 2017, my twenty-something girlfriend leaned toward me. “Do you have your one word for 2018?”
I gulped. “Not yet.”
“Well,”–Kara’s brown eyes still glimmered with anticipation–“when you do, I want to hear about it.”
“Uh. Sure,” I sputtered. “We’ll get together.”
In the freshness of 2017, Kara and I had huddled at the island in my kitchen eating chicken salad. Our conversation centered around the concept of prayerfully considering one word or phrase that sums up a spiritual practice or posture for intentional focus.
I’d shared my 2017 word and related Bible verses, and talked about the applications stirring in my heart. Next, Kara asked about a focus word for her. When one word raced into her mind, the excitement nearly toppled the kitchen stool supporting her.
That was then.
Not yet, my answer for 2018, stood out as a stark understatement. The idea of one year ending and a new one starting the next day hadn’t sunk in. Until Kara posed her question.
December 31st marked the absence of any real reflection on 2017 or goal setting for 2018. (more…)
Nothing like a lesson in listening during lunch on a Thursday with me, myself, and I.
I ordered my Chili’s menu favorite—Caribbean Salad with Grilled Chicken. Next, I pulled a file folder from my tote, ready to edit a book chapter while waiting for the greens adorned with pineapple, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, green onions, cilantro, chicken, and more.
Before I got my head into marking up the manuscript, my 30-something waitress greeted her customer and friend seated in the booth in front of mine. A couple minutes later, she slid onto the bench across from her older friend and began recounting a personal saga that involved her troubled teenage son.
I perused the pile of papers in my folder while employing a few techniques I learned as a writer studying people for character research.
Here’s what I observed:
The listening friend’s chin drooped.
Her eyes narrowed in empathy.
A sad sigh lifted her shoulders and dropped them.
Her hand reached across the table to lock fingers with her friend.
Her mouth seldom moved as she listened. What?!
That’s what compassion and sisterhood look like. That’s what we want in a best friend, right? (more…)