Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where I'm From

A few days ago we were challenged with a writing prompt in one of our writer critique groups (TWV2). We were given a template based on George Ella Lyon's poem, "Where I'm From" and encouraged to open memory files from long ago to create a few stanzas about our lives, sharing details and events and pictures to unravel the mystery of our beginning. 

I was going to skip the assignment because I was out of town with friends for the weekend , but had so much fun reading every one's poems that I decided to write my own. (My friends joined in the fun and wrote their own poems, too.)

My attempt:

I am from down by the river, living cane poles and corks bobbing, running trot lines with my dad, capturing crawfish in front yard ditches, and an old aluminum boat.

I am from GT classes, bubblegum prizes in chalk board math races, impromptu speeches and spelling bees, and traveling the world in a fourth grade reading loft.

I am from unfinished closets, peanut butter and syrup sandwiches, falling asleep to the rattle of box fans, family vacations in a one-room tent and RC Cola. From East Texas pine trees, the sweet smell of honey suckles and picking berries against barbed wire fences.

I am from Smiths and Ludwigs, Larry and Martha, Paw Paw Hans and Granny Lucille, Gib and Grandma Nathalie, family-loving, hard-working and selfless sacrifices.

I am from suspicious reindeer tracks on a dirt driveway, milk and cookies for Santa, mom and dad who gave everything, and a Christmas parade in a town of 8000.

I am from school lunches planned and packed with expert care, a wave from the front porch when getting on the bus, pinto beans and rice more than once a week, and digging potatoes in the garden.

I am from rainbow snow cones at Vacation Bible School, Sunday morning specials beside the old Baptist piano, a new church at fourteen, banned rock music and an unknown tongue.

I am from imperfect places and God's grace and the things that matter most. From love, family and a Savior Who died so I could live.

I think I may do this more than once.:)  If you decide to try it for yourself, please leave a comment and a link to your post. I would love to read your story.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Process Begins and Continues

(She Speaks - Part 2)

Messages from this weekend continue to burn in my heart. The sound of 650+ women worshipping together, hands lifted high. The sound of silence and tears shed in the prayer room. Hearts open, fears exposed, spirits connected.

Dreams remembered, vision restored, hope renewed, love rekindled, hearts repaired. So many stories, each unique, found in a chair, head bowed...on a pillow, hands clasped...standing, arms open wide...all for an audience of One.

I hear whispers in this place, softly spoken confessions and requests, that echo my own.
  • I'm too old to be starting.
  • Is this really what God wants me to do?
  • I just don't know.
  • I can't.
  • How do I juggle everything without neglecting something?
  • I don't want to do it without His blessing.
  • It's so hard.
  • I feel like if I were better....
A process begins and continues. God chiseling away at the very things that might keep us from Him, from the plans and purposes He has for us. Fears, insecurities, strongholds, doubts. Let. God. Chisel.

Home now, I'm having a hard time finding words to describe my few stolen moments away. I ramble on when asked, because no single word seems adequate.

Hard, exciting, overwhelming, fun, emotional, anointed, challenging, scary, life-changing, exhausting, inspiring, motivating, hard (did I say that already?).

I'm sure I will be downloading for quite some time in various posts once I have processed what actually transpired over these few days. I am looking forward to re-experiencing the workshops and sessions through my notes and CDs.

What a blessing to have met such incredible women, sharing their hearts and loving each other and God. I was weepy the whole weekend, overcome with emotion when all 650 of us sat together, eyes on the One Who brought us there. Kindred spirits, like minds...sisters. I. Am. Grateful.

Two of my blogging friends and new sisters,
 Jen and Amy

Another sister friend, Robin, my roomie. Thankful that God allowed us to share this time together.

I am beginning the counting of my blessings, starting with the ones from the conference Saturday night when Ann Voskamp spoke and I was forever changed.

Counting blessings with Ann V.
  1. Growing, stretching.
  2. Hard moments, tears shed.
  3. New places, new opportunities.
  4. Sisters.
  5. Emptying, filling, emptying.
  6. Airport train rides to the right terminal.
  7. Grace. Grace. Grace.
Today I am linking with Ann and Jen.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My She Speaks Journey Begins

Thursday morning 5:15 AM wake up call.  Hugs and kisses goodbye to my family...out the door at 7:45, picked up by my friend and roomie, Robin.  On the plane at 10:12 and on our way to a weekend I'm sure we will never forget.

And so begins my journey to She Speaks...

I have flown probably 7 or 8 times, but have always had my husband or someone with me giving me instructions and telling me what to do.  Robin has never flown.  Needless to say, God is growing and stretching us. After we ended up at the wrong terminal, we got a courtesy ride in the airport train to get us to the right place. :)

We met up with Jessica, our new friend who lives only about 30 minutes from us. She Speaks has brought us together and we hope to continue encouraging one another when we get home. We are making lasting connections.  (And Jessica has a really awesome iPhone app coming out soon!)

We arrived safely at the airport in Charlotte, NC where we were picked up by an amazing, funny, beautiful shuttle driver whose name I have sadly forgotten.  I pray that I can connect with her again before Sunday to exchange information.  And I pray that God opens a door and provides a way for her to attend some workshops and soak in His presence this weekend.

After a quick stop at Wendy's (I had not eaten anything since the night before), we made it to our hotel. Our suite is amazing, the beds are soooo comfy and the quiet is...well...heavenly.

Unable to resist the temptation to nap, we took advantage of the heavenly sound of nothing and the comfy beds.  After laying in our room talking for three hours, we finally crashed and woke up 15 minutes before our dinner reservation.  We quickly wiped the mascara from under our eyes, freshened our makeup and traded in our lounging clothes for more appropriate attire. Below is only a small number of some of the very talented and inspiring women we met tonight.

I even got to meet Micca Campbell from P31 when she stopped by our table for a visit!  If you haven't connected with her on her blog, you should.  Find her here

It is now 1:30 AM (but 12:30 Texas time so really it's still early for me), and I am going to call it a night, or a morning, or ...whatever. I know tomorrow holds keys to unlocking a piece of my destiny.  I am looking forward to finding the prayer room, connecting with more new friends. learning how to prepare a powerful, effective 15 minute publisher meeting (which will come in handy for my two appointments on Saturday), listening to Lysa TerKeurst in our opening session and losing myself in God's presence.

Good night sweet friends. I wish you were here. Maybe next year?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Confession #2: An Airbrushed Photo & Self-Promoting

It seems I've opened a can of worms with this confession thing.  Unthinkingly naming my last post Confession #1, I have distinctly implied that there must be a #2.  And I know you've been anxiously awaiting  (A girl can humor herself...especially at 5:30 am okay?).

Here goes...

In preparation for She Speaks, I read many articles, several of which said it would be good to have business cards with a photo on them to hand out to publishers, agents, women's ministry leaders, etc. so they could put a face to the name (if they were interested).  So, I solicited help from my personal photographer, my sister.  She's good....reeaall gooood. Did you know you could erase wrinkles in Photoshop? Lucky for me.  Or unlucky?  What happens when I meet the girls at the conference and they are expecting the airbrushed photo?  Sorry girls.  I'm preparing you for reality.

Also, I've had a really hard time ordering the business cards with my picture on them.  Just like every time I post my writer page on facebook asking people to "like" me.  I'm getting a little weary of seeing my own face so much (even if it is wrinkle free). This self-promotion thing is for the birds.  But I am slowly learning...and I am hoping for wings.

One last thing...I am learning to live beyond fear.  Speaking of birds and wings, I told my mom a few weeks ago that I felt like God was pushing me out of the nest.  She reminded me of a book we studied a while back with the Bloom Book Club (Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart) and I thought I'd share some quotes in case anyone else heading to the conference is a little know.

And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom. ~Anais Nin

Fear is truly the enemy of passion and a roadblock to the wisdom God would give us. ~Paula Rinehart

Because real risking in faith can occur only in those areas of life where we feel most impoverished and vulnerable, it never becomes something we are really comfortable with. For each layer that builds up, another, more challenging risk is offered. True faith choices, therefore, always feel like risks; they just go on, involving deeper and deeper levels of our being. Each choice remains difficult, what really becomes conditioned in this process is simply our willingness and readiness to take the risks of faith.  They never stop feeling like risks.~Paula Rinehart

So this thing we are doing, whether we are doing it confidently or doing it afraid, we must do it.  I am willing to take this risk, this thing that feels like I'm losing my footing, this unknown, this vulnerable, hard, exciting place.  God is surely leading me, and it truly is more painful to stay where I am than to go.  He is my strong tower, my refuge.  In Him will I trust.

Are you facing a real faith risk? Is God requiring something new and challenging of you?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Confession #1

Tonight I sit secluded in my parents' guest room, my mom out of town and my dad asleep on the couch. :)

This week has found me struggling to prepare my book proposal for She Speaks.  And after two days of wrestling - because that's what it has felt like, complete with a sore back and neck - I have put it down for the moment to hear God speak.

He is so patient with me and He is faithful even when I am not.  I can see Him sitting down, leaned back with His arms folded and smiling at me with that look that says, "Whenever you're ready...I'm waiting..."

The ironic thing is as I put pressure on myself to perform and try to perfect this book proposal in my own strength, I am reminded of a line in my summary:

"This book is aimed at women and mothers of all ages struggling to catch their breath in a world that measures success by accomplishments, titles and positions, and worldly gain..."

And then I remember a quote from one of my chapters:

"Our satisfaction and contentment, our peace and security, our joy and fulfillment...come only when the void that screams "More!" is filled with  the One whose name encompasses everything we will ever need."

This week I have taken a detour and filled myself with personal demands and expectations.  For three days I have forgotten my purpose. It is not to publish a book, it is not to attend a writer's conference, and it is not to be perfectly dressed, perfectly prepared or perfectly versed for my elevator pitch.

It is to surrender.

It is to love.

It is to answer when He calls.

It is to allow Him to be perfect in my weakness, to shine through my imperfections and broken places, and to allow Him to speak through the words He inspires me to write silently or say aloud.  If that means publishing a book, awesome.  If not, that's okay, too.

Tonight I surrender and worship and listen.  As Moses cried out in Exodus 33, I, too, want to see His glory.  I, too, want to know He has given me grace for the road ahead.  I, too, want to go only if His presence goes with me.

Is there something you are struggling with right now?  Won't you lay it down and spend time with your Father?  I can see Him sitting down, leaned back with His arms folded and smiling at you with that look that says, "Whenever you're ready...I'm waiting..."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Time is a Gift

I am preparing for the P31 She Speaks Conference so thought I would re-post something I had already written.  I would appreciate and cherish your prayers as I continue making preparations.  :)  Time is truly a gift....

Today I Lingered in the Moment

There I stood, walking from my mother's house to my own, a small trail between the two. My eyes forward, I watched my six year old bouncing toward me with his arms spread as wide as the landscape. Suddenly my heart pounded and I was flooded with memories and the realization that this place in time won't last forever.

I found myself breathing deeply, lingering in the moment, reluctant to let go just yet.

I took a picture in my mind, etching every detail of his smile, his face, his arms, his eyes bright with joy and innocence....recording his laugh and his six year old voice.

Though a new day, still, I have been here before.

Watching my daughter twirl and skip, laughter erupting from deep within. She is now 18.

Watching my other son proudly ride his new bike. "Watch me, Mom!" He is now 14.

We blink, and in an instant a moment passes before us, recaptured only in the memories and mental files we have stored away for safe keeping.

Today, like many others, I dig through those files, visiting another time and place.

I am thankful for moments that have come and gone.

And for those moments, those gifts, waiting in my tomorrow.

Both time and my children are a gift from God and I look forward to the morning in great anticipation.

For tomorrow, I have more pictures to take. More files to open.

My cup runneth over...

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3

Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days--what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here]. Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Truly every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah ~Psalm 39:4-5 (Amplified Bible)

Once again I am linking up with Jen for Soli Deo Gloria.  Click on the picture below to visit her blog for some encouraging words from other writers.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Key Prophecy by Chuck Pierce

(I received this in an email today from Chuck Pierce/Glory of Zion Ministries.  Please click to visit their website for more information. A great and timely word.)

A Key Prophecy from Chuck Pierce

"You will have a new place to stand. However, do not rush to establish your footing. In this new place, many changes will take place, so be willing to root and then be re-rooted. I am beginning to light your spirit within you in a new way. The seven -fold spirit within you is now being rekindled and brought to life so that we will become one with My Lamp Stand. You and I will become one in covenant alignment this season. We will begin to burn brightly as we move forward. The world will see the seven-fold Spirit that I have in the earth. This Spirit is beginning to burn again. Hell will not be able to put that fire out. Many who are standing now will come alive and burn again. Though you stopped and stalled in last season, you will advance in a way this season that you have not advanced before. I have one that builds and one that establishes. Then I have one that watches and keeps. Let me help you find your place this hour. Let me help you get established, for I am transplanting many from one garden to another garden. I am causing some seed to grow that did not grow last season. I am plowing new furrows, breaking old soil, but creating new fields. I will grow a troop for this season. This is the troop that begins to move and advance in a new way.

Choose the lamp stand this month. Be the lampstand. Choose now and you will shine brightly throughout your entire future. Of the seven fold aspects of burning, you have to only be half lit. Let Me light you and make you bright. I need a flame. I see you! Do not get upset, when I clear away some of the rust and debris that has caused portions of your light to grow dim. I love you and I light you!"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

how can we reach them unless we see

(today i am linking my words with others and emily for imperfect prose.  i have only found her this week and feel like i have uncovered treasure. she is an amazing writer and artist.  you will be blessed to visit her blog. also be sure to check the listed links for some encouraging words from other writers as well)

walking through fields of corn too tall
standing on tip toes to get a peek
what is it thats out there
there beyond the place my eyes can see?

i imagine people
souls lost and hearts aching
undone and unraveled
searching for home
a place to lay their heads
ears to listen
hearts that hold complete.

beyond our now is a world of hurting people
in front of us lies wounded the rejected and forgotten.

how will we reach them unless we see?

open our eyes lord
let us see clearly those to whom you have called us.

stretch our hands made for healing
move our feet fashioned for the journey

give us courage to see and grace to love.

sharing the one who alone brings peace, hope, forgiveness and salvation.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dedicated, Depleted and Determined

I am joining the Sisterhood :) and linking this post with Jen and some others at Finding Heaven Today.  Please click the picture at the bottom of this post to visit some other pages if you have time and need the encouragement...

Yesterday at church our Youth Pastor (and friend) filled in for our Senior Pastor who is on vacation.  The words he spoke hit me like a ton of bricks.  As soon as he opened his mouth and began speaking I knew God was using him to deliver a message and I, its intended recipient.

Simply but profoundly titled "From Desire to Desperation," my personal message immediately challenged and convicted me.

Isn't it funny how sometimes you know what God is going to say before He says it?  It amazes me how He drops His word in our spirit and sets off an explosion in our heart.

To set the stage, Pastor Timothy used the example of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 starting in vs. 8.  It is hard to miss Hannah's desperation in these verses. She not only desired a son, she was utterly desperate.  She committed herself to God in this matter in such a way that she was emptied of everything.  In dedication and determination, she poured out unto God relentlessly. 

Hannah was dedicated, depleted and determined.


"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold all things have become new." ~2 Corinthians 5:17

When we are dedicated, we are wholly committed to something, set apart, reserved and consecrated for a specific use or (sacred) purpose (source:

True dedication to God means, as the scripture states, that old things have indeed passed away and all things have become new.  We are a new creation and our life should reflect the change.  The way we think, the way we speak, the way we love, the way we forgive, the way we encourage, the way we serve...everything we do and everything we are should be centered in the person of Christ.  Not that we are perfect (because we aren't), not that we will instantly gain victory in every area and over every stronghold (because we won't), but that we live intentionally and purposefully, completely submitted and dedicated to the life we now live, consecrated and set apart for a sacred purpose.


I just read  a guest post by Todd Henry on Michael Hyatt's blog the other day titled Why I Hope to Die Empty.  If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so.  It's really, really good.

TH's friend asked the question "Do you know what the most valuable land in the world is?" After numerous wrong guesses of places like diamond mines and oil rich lands, he replied, "It's the graveyard... because with all of those people are buried unfulfilled dreams, unwritten novels, masterpieces not created, businesses not started, relationships not reconciled.  That is the most valuable land in the world."

This statement brings conviction to live and the freedom to do so.  TH states "My only job—each and every day—is to empty myself, to do my daily work, and to try as much as possible to leave nothing unspoken, uncreated, unwritten."

As we fill ourselves with God's Word and become empowered to do that which He's called us to do, we should do it.   Just do it  (Sounds so simple...) .Pour ourselves out first to Him in worship, sacrifice, prayer, dedication and then to others in service, encouragement, love, forgiveness.  In the pouring out of ourselves - our needs, wants, desires, hurts, disappointments - and in the emptying of all that He has poured in -healing, provision, peace, love -, spills out ministry and the gifts He has placed within us. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20.

In our emptying, we surrender all.  Just as Hannah surrendered the very thing for which she cried out so desperately (1 Samuel 1), we too must realize the blessings that come are not so that we can hold onto them, but so that we can release them back into the hands of God.  It isn't our ministry, our book, our child, our song, our's His...and it's for His glory alone.


How determined are we to find God?  To find His presence and dwell there?  Do we look for Him as treasure?  Do we thirst for Him?

"O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water"
Psalm 63:1.

Each of these points challenged me and caused me to look within, to evaluate my level of desperation.  Am I truly dedicated?  Am I truly depleted?  Am I truly determined?  My flesh and desire to please people or have them see me in a certain favorable light wants to proclaim "Yes!"  But in my heart of hearts, the transparent and honest answer  Yes, I love God, Yes, I have desire, but my level of desperation is not enough.  There are some things I must still surrender, some things I must lay down, some things I must let go. 

As God is preparing each of us for His purposes, I pray that we become desperate.  Desperate for Him and desperate enough to empty ourselves so that He can live through us.  Whether in writing, speaking, praying, singing or to whatever ministry He has called us, I pray that we are able to lay aside those things keeping us from moving forward.

We can be truly dedicated, depleted and determined. 

We must live purposefully and intentionally.  We are created for a sacred purpose.

In seventeen short days I will board a plane for North Carolina to attend the She Speaks Conference.  I am nervous and feel very inadequate but I know God is going to speak to me there.  In addition to gathering a plethora of knowledge, I am praying to receive divine direction.  I am laying down some things in order to attend, setting some things aside, and letting some things go.  I feel my desperation increasing. I know He is leading.

Won't you pray for me and allow me to pray for you, sweet friends?

Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation ~Psalm 62:1.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Reminding Myself...

Reposting from February and reminding myself....

Teach Me To Surrender...

Performance and achievement based Christianity is tiring and heavy, hindering intimacy and relationship with our Savior. It fosters pride and fear of failure.

Surrendering and allowing God to work through us to achieve His purposes and reach even greater heights than imagined brings freedom.

**Performance puts the focus on ourselves.**

Surrender puts the focus on God and His ability, encourages our dependence on Him and promotes intimacy and fellowship.

I'm still learning total and complete surrender.

Teach me to surrender, Lord.....

Not my will, but Yours.

"For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:30

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ability vs. Capacity

My mom shared this yesterday and it really spoke to me.  History has shown that a lot of us are usually in the same place or going through a similar season, so I thought I would share it to. :)

A Word by Mark Chironna:

Ability and capacity are different. When you arrive at new positions and levels of influence a gap is created, the gap exists between the demands of your new position and your not-yet-developed ability to fulfill that role. Not-yet-developed ability does not mean you do not have the capacity. The capacity exists or the promotion would not come. Shift your awareness towards your capacity and watch your ability rising.

Have a blessed Friday, my friends, and remember....keep your spiritual ears open because God is speaking! :)   xoxo