After a ten month hiatus, I’m writing again and I’m back on social media more regularly. I missed connecting with you.
May 17, 2018, I was on my way to Kona, Hawaii, where I teach for YWAM (Youth with a Mission). For two weeks. Tough gig, I know. And one I count as a big blessing and look forward to every year.
The week of the 21st I would teach on writing children’s literature. The following week, my students would walk with me around the world of fiction writing.
I tucked my rolling computer case full of teaching supplies between the two purple suitcases in the back of my car. I’d slipped the file folder of notes for my nonfiction book for women between my laptop and course files.
Family members in transition lived with us the first three months of 2018. This getaway to Kona, though a business trip, would be the reset button I needed to concentrate on my own writing during the windows of downtime before and between my weeks of teaching.
As I drove the highway between my house and I-17 toward Phoenix, my plans for the day played in my head. First stop, Starbucks in Camp Verde for a chai latte. On to Olive Garden for minestrone soup, salad, and breadsticks before settling into a hotel room with my work-in-progress writing project. Several hours of uninterrupted writing stretched out before me. I sighed with delight.
We all know plans can change. We get interrupted. (more…)
Bad days happen. To all of us.
Days that show up as magnets for mishaps and misunderstandings. The kind of days that can launch us into emotional ups and downs.
You might be smack dab in the middle of that kind of day.
You are not alone. David and the others who wrote psalms knew days like that and recorded their emotional roller coaster rides in the Bible. From pouring out their hearts to God to pondering His ways. From petition and pleading to praising God.
The book of Psalms is a go-to for me when I’m battling a bad day, a day of emotional ups and downs. Here are nine Psalms and truths that help bolster me on those kinds of days. I’m hoping these truth encourage you, too. (more…)
I’m excited to introduce you to my hope building friend, Michelle.
Dr. Michelle Bengtson, a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, is also a wife, mother and friend. She knows pain and despair firsthand and combines her professional expertise and personal experience with her faith to address issues surrounding medical and mental disorders, both for those who suffer and for those who care for them.
In today’s post, Michelle talks about looking back versus forward looking.
By Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Have you ever done something that made you feel bad about yourself and kept you trapped in the mistakes of your past?
Have you ever been criticized by someone, and felt guilty, ashamed, or inferior?
Words of another can sting. So can the words of our enemy who seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy us (John 10:10).
Often, we don’t recognize Satan’s taunts for what they are: lies. (more…)
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…)
I’m excited to introduce you to my friend, Robin.
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?
Follow Robin on Facebook or Twitter.
I asked Robin if she’d share an excerpt from her book, Victim of Grace. She said “Yes.” Thanks, Robin!
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.
By Kathi Lipp
Since starting Clutter Free Academy, we’ve had many people ask, “Where do I start?”
We all want to be more organized, more disciplined when it comes to dealing with our stuff. This excerpt from my book Clutter Free offers a beginners’ guide to help you jump in and get results quickly.
1. Pick a major source of pain. Get mad every time you go into the garage? See red when you try to relax in the living room? Is your office where papers go to die?
Whatever area of your home is causing you the most pain, that’s what needs to be addressed first. (more…)
Happy New Year, friends!
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.