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.
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…)
Robin Jones Gunn is an award-winning storyteller, the much loved author of the popular Christy Miller series for teens and Sisterchicks® novels as well as non-fiction favorites such as Victim of Grace: When God’s Goodness Prevails. Robin and her hubby live in Hawaii where she writes from her lanai, sipping iced tea with a fresh slice of pineapple. What? Me? Jealous?
I’d like to introduce my friend, Kathi Lipp. I’ve known Kathi for several years, and then had the privilege of getting to know her better when we worked together for a couple of years at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in California. The author of Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps for Simplifying Your Space, Kathi excels in simplifying and organizing. That’s why I asked her to share an excerpt from her book with a few basics steps to help us declutter in this new year.
December 31, 2017 snuck up on me, but I wasn’t sad to see the old year end. The New Year will bring one of our two daughters and her family back from Africa for a visit. We have much to look forward to in 2018.
Whether you’re cheering on the New Year or not, let’s you and I press pause for a few moments to begin 2018 with ready hearts, resting in the light.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105, NIV(more…)
Lord Jesus, with “O Come All Ye Faithful” playing in the background, I pause to be still. Reset my spirit to remember that you are God. The Beginning and the End. The life-giving Light who came to earth all those years ago.
Father, may the lavish love that compelled Christ to come as a babe swaddled in a feed trough, then to walk the way of the cross for my transgressions stir me, move me to lay my life at Your feet anew–a sacrifice of praise and an offering much too small.
Holy Spirit, guide me to breathe in and live out the grace Jesus came to give.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Happy Jesus Day, friends! May the peace He came to give us starting with that first Christmas pour over you afresh as you remember and celebrate His unfailing, enduring love.
During my first experience seeing JJ Heller and her hubby Dave on the stage at a women’s retreat in September, the Smothers Brothers came to mind. (I know…you’re probably too young to remember the Smothers Brothers Show.) The recollection had nothing to do with the couple’s stellar song writing and melodious voices. Everything to do with Dave’s droll wit. So fun! And their time onstage so soul-feeding.
If you ever have the opportunity to see JJ and Dave perform live, run don’t walk to the venue. In the meantime, you can follow JJ on YouTube or Facebook. Below JJ’s post, you’ll find links to JJ’s music.
Perhaps like me, you struggle with fear. You’re not alone, you’re not going crazy and God is not disappointed with you.
Something that was and is really important on my own journey of healing is hearing other people’s stories, so here is a bit of mine.
I first started dealing with panic attacks, also known as panic disorder, in 2003 when, all within a span of one month, my husband, Dave, and I graduated from college, got married, moved to another state and decided to pursue music as a career. My body didn’t know how to handle the stress.
Because of my strange health symptoms, I was convinced I was dying of something.
The physical reactions seemed to come out of nowhere and would scare the living daylights out of me. I would be sitting on the couch and all of a sudden I would notice my fingers starting to tingle and go numb, my heart would start pounding, I’d have trouble breathing, and I’d feel dizzy like I might pass out. It was terrifying.
On several occasions I went to the doctor to figure out what was wrong, and each time I was told I was incredibly healthy. I had a heart monitor hooked up for 24 hours, but even that reported I was healthy.
Instead of feeling relieved, I grew frustrated that they couldn’t find the cause of my symptoms, and I was still convinced it was only a matter of days until I would be knocking on death’s door. It wasn’t until I started doing my own research that I discovered I wasn’t dying.
During a stroll between morning meetings, I ducked into my favorite building on the grounds of the Mount Hermon Conference Center. The A-framed chapel ranks high on my list of favorite places to visit.
With each foot-lift on the redwood steps, the tightness in my shoulders eased.
A time-worn wooden pew welcomed me. As I settled against a corner at the end of the pew, my breathing slowed and my spirit quieted.
The chapel provided a perfect place for pondering and praising. The perfect place for shifting my heart away from niggling details and temporal concerns, to return my attention to the Divine and the eternal.
Seated in solitude, I gazed from the sheaves of golden wheat pictured in the stained glass to the evergreen-draped redwoods towering outside the window. Massive reminders of my Father’s faithfulness.
When my attention settled on the cross, praise to my Savior–my Salvation, my sustenance, and my strength–poured from my lips.