Friday, April 30, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook On Friday

Outside my window... sunshine, but a bit chillier than recent days.

I am thinking... about the looming month of May and all the busyness it holds.

I am thankful for... good friends.

From the kitchen... meals my husband can prepare while I am in Canada this weekend leading a women's retreat. This means lots of stuff cooked on the grill!

I am wearing... a pink 3/4 length sleeve v-neck shirt and jeans, silver sequin flip flops

I am remembering... a time in my life when I didn't work out or worry about dieting... ever. And it wasn't because I didn't need to-- it was just because I didn't want to. Am glad that I am taking better care of myself now even if it requires more effort.

I am going... to Canada for the first time this weekend!

I am reading… Caught by Harlan Coben. I love his thrill-ride, suspense-packed books and was anxious to read this, his newest.

I am hoping… to find joy in my busyness and not just stress. All good things I am doing... the key is remembering that!

On my mind… I started the Shred video by Jillian Michaels (of Biggest Loser fame) last week. I am now on Day 9 and it is getting easier!! When I first started I thought I would die and I couldn't imagine it ever not being hard.

I am hearing... the coffee grinding machine and voices of customers... am at Barnes and Noble.

Around the house... just staying on top of the laundry and dishes is enough for me right now. I think that will be true of the entire month of May.

Noticing that… prayers work. They really do. (I know... duuuuh.)

Pondering these words... "Only 12 Notes"

One of my favorite things... a decaf coffee with splenda and cream. It's the little things in life.
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes You Gotta Go Fishing

I was writing a note to one of you today, encouraging you to work on your financial solution to coming to She Speaks. As I wrote I realized I had hit on yet another blog post about this idea of raising money to go to a conference you feel called to.

There are some of us who reason, "Well if God wanted me to go, He'd arrange it so I had the money in the bank to go. Since I don't He must not."

There are others of us who say, "Well, God didn't rain down money from heaven or have someone just give it to me so I guess it's just not meant to be."

As I thought about this a vision flashed in my head of a fish with a coin in it. I realized that this was the perfect illustration of what God sometimes requires of us when we have a desire or need. Sometimes God requires us to take the first step. Don't believe me? Go read Matthew 17:24-27. It's okay, I'll wait here while you do it.

Ok? You back? Jesus told Peter to go catch a fish and in the fish he would find a coin. Now He's Jesus. He could have produced the coin out of thin air-- sure He could. He could've closed His eyes and made the money appear in the pocket of the man who was asking them for it. Instead he sent Peter fishing. He got Peter involved in the solution. He required him to take action. And, after Peter made the effort He provided exactly what He needed.

Now I understand being truly short on money. With a husband out of work, I get it more than you know. But I also want to tell you not to take the attitude that just because you don't have a fat bank account or a scholarship doesn't mean you aren't meant to be at She Speaks. God might just tell you to go fishing. I can't wait to hear what you catch!
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Where Dreams Die

Just a bit more thought to the whole concept of feeling called to attend She Speaks. If this is a dream God has planted in your heart-- or if you have another dream He has planted in your heart that has nothing to do with She Speaks-- I want to urge you to watch this sermon by my pastor last weekend about where dreams die. It's not nearly as depressing as it sounds-- in fact it's quite encouraging! It's worth the investment of your time to let him speak into your life about your dreams. This is one of those sermons I took notes on and then went home and took time the next day during my quiet time to transcribe the notes into my journal and really ponder, look up verses, etc.

Here is a post written by a woman who is pondering whether she should do the "safe" thing and not spend the money on the conference or take a step of faith and not play it so safe anymore. I like how she said she has "Controlled the abundance right out of her life." She's got some great quotes in there.

I pray between her post and my pastor's sermon, you will be encouraged and empowered to go for your dreams and enter into a deeper prayer life and walk with God as a result!!

And now I am back to living out my dreams of seeing my first novel published!!

Check back tomorrow for a late edition of the Simple Woman's Daybook.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guest Post: Raising Your Own Funds For A Conference

This is a guest post from Ashley Wells, who contacted me about donating to her cause... and I asked her to write a guest post because I was so impressed and inspired by what she was doing! She said, "Sure!" and so she's here today sharing about her creative plans to raise funds to go to a blogging conference that God laid on her heart to attend. This is mainly a continuation of yesterday's post about raising funds for She Speaks. I know many of you would like to go... and I want to inspire you to seek out ways to raise funds. I hope this post gets your wheels turning!

When God laid it on my heart to attend an upcoming conference for bloggers, I felt excitement and anticipation. However, my thoughts went immediately to how I am actually, realistically, financially, going to get there. I did not have ANY extra all! My husband had just lost his job and we definitely couldn't give any money towards attending a conference that would help me be a better blogger.

I prayed about this venture for two whole months..."God, are you really telling me that you want me to go to this conference? We have no extra money. How am I going to get there?"

At the beginning of March, after months in prayer, I still felt like God was telling me to go. So, I started looking for a sponsor. I had one company in mind that I thought would be a great match. So, I e-mailed my contact person and prayed, and prayed, and prayed. As soon as I hit that send button, my heart raced until I got a reply.

Then my heart sunk..."not possible financially for us at this time." Oh no! This would have been a perfect match. We already had a great relationship, and I love the company. I prayed, "Ok, God, you must have another plan for me."

Over the next 3 weeks, I sent out sponsorship requests left and right. I e-mailed practically every company I had ever interacted with. I also e-mailed companies that I would love the chance to interact with. I was constantly finding companies that I could stand beside, e-mailing them, and praying constantly that God would find a match for me.

However, I finally reached my end...Everyone I e-mailed either didn't reply at all, or did reply to let me know that they aren't interested, or can't financially afford a sponsorship. At this point, I am sad to say that I gave up. I gave up my hopes to attend this conference completely. I threw in my hat. That was on the 19th of April.

The very next day God did something amazing! Isn't it so funny how He works sometimes? I've got my plans...they fail...then He fills me in on His plan! I was on my computer working on a blog post for the next day and I saw someone tweet something about a live tv chat from Gather Inspirit.

So, I tuned in to this broadcast and God did a work through them. At one point they were talking about the same conference I felt led to attend, and instantly I felt God tugging at my heart again to go. My passion for this conference was renewed. So, after the show, I said a simple, humble prayer to our Lord, "God, I tried. I couldn't get anyone to sponsor me. If you want me to go to this conference, please show me what I am supposed to do."

I had said prayers like this before, but never before did I feel God press upon me an answer so quickly. Very shortly after voicing my concerns to our Mighty God, I had an idea!

Give! Win! Send! was created that night. This event would be an opportunity for people to give donations, win prizes, and ultimately send me to the conference.

So, the next day (April 21st) I started contacting companies seeking donations for my raffle giveaway. As I am writing this (April 24th), I already have over $270 in prize donations to give away during the week long event. And that number is growing each day, since I am still accepting prize donations.

So, here are the details for the event: Each day May 1st-7th, I will be hosting 24 hour prize pack giveaways. Everyone can enter once for each day's giveaway, at no cost, by entering on my blog. Also, I will be accepting donations throughout the week to raise money. For every $1 someone donates, they will earn one extra entry into that day's prize pack giveaway.

My goal through this event is to raise all the money I need to go, or at least enough that I will be able to find a sponsor for the rest of the amount that I will need. God has brought me this far, and I trust He will be faithful to take me the rest of the way!

Ashley is 20-something years old and lives in Central Ohio with her husband, Michael, and their three cats. In May, they will be moving to Louisville, KY so that Michael can attend school and pursue a calling into full-time pastoral ministry. Ashley is passionate about being a wife, homemaker, and future mother through adoption. She blogs regularly at Putting God First Place and can also be found on twitter most days.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

This Just In: Another Scholarship Opportunity!

There's another chance to win a scholarship!!

Check out the P31 homepage for more details and best wishes for the winner!
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She Speaks Conference: Making A Way

Today the winner will be announced for the She Speaks contest we ran last week. As I write this, I have no idea who it will be but I know one thing-- there will only be one winner. And lots of people who will not win. And that grieves my heart, as your entries have really touched me because I am in the same boat with a lot of you. If I had millions, you can bet I would be paying your way!!

A few months ago, I entered a contest for a scholarship to a writers conference I wanted to attend pretty badly. Ok, really badly. With Curt out of work, going to this conference was not an option. My only hope was getting a scholarship. You can imagine my disappointment when I found out I didn't win. And yet, I sensed God telling me that He had a different-- better-- plan and I just needed to trust it. So I did.

Last week, I got an unexpected email from a group of friends who had gotten together behind my back, pooled their resources, and offered to pay for another conference I really wanted to go to. A conference that will provide me with great information I need as a fiction writer. A conference I couldn't afford to go to with Curt out of work. But God. He made a way-- laying it on my friends' hearts to pay for my registration so I could be there and totally and completely surprising me in the process.

Why do I tell this story? Because I think that for some of you, it will be easy to get to a place of disappointment if you don't win. But that's not what I want for you. I want you to rest in His perfect plan for your life. And to face this situation armed with the knowledge that if God wants you there, HE WILL GET YOU THERE!! Jesus is THE WAY and He can make a way. Don't count yourself out yet. Let this setback spur you on to a greater prayer life and a closer walk with Him. Don't throw your hands up and think "It's over." Last year I had a friend who desperately wanted to go to She Speaks, but she didn't see a way. Just a few weeks before the conference, God made a shocking, amazing way for her to be there and she has never forgotten it. My friend learned, it ain't over til it's over.

I want you to know that the P31 team has committed to praying specifically for each of you who want to be there to find a way. That God will provide unexpected checks, generous friends, birthday gifts, creative fundraising ideas, etc. If you have a strong desire to come and are willing to get creative, you can create your own scholarship! Here's what our Executive Director had to say about this idea:

"Proverbs 31 has already put together an amazing letter that they can send to their family, friends, church, small group, etc. As a result, tax-deductible donations are made to Proverbs 31 Ministries and designated as scholarship money for the individual. Each year 20 – 30 women attend She Speaks because they set up their own scholarship. Everyone is not called to speak or write. But some are called to financially help someone else answer the call to speak or write."

For a copy of this letter, go to There is a green button that says “Scholarship Info” at the bottom left of the home page. That button will take you to the scholarship information on the website.

However things work out for you, I pray that you will walk in the door with the other women that Friday as we begin this year's conference. And that as you walk in-- because of what He has done-- you will be even more impacted by that moment, even more aware of His goodness and His plans for you. We want you there and we are rooting for you. I have listed off everyone who left a comment on my blog and will be praying for you by name. Can't wait to hear your stories of His exceeding, abundant provision and how He made a way!

Be sure to come back tomorrow, when I will have a guest blogger explaining how she got creative to raise funds to attend a conference she felt God calling her to. Her story might just get your wheels turning!
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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Publisher's Weekly Liked The Mailbox!!

Just had to share this review by PW for my forthcoming novel, The Mailbox. Have you pre-ordered your copy yet? You can at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Christianbook.

And be sure to tell your friends about it!!

The Mailbox Marybeth Whalen. David C. Cook, $14.99 paper (384p)
ISBN 978-0-7814-0369-6

Nonfiction author Whalen pens her first novel, centered on an actual landmark mailbox in Sunset Beach, N.C. Over a span of some 20 years, Lindsey Adams makes summer visits to the Kindred Spirit mailbox and deposits an annual written update on her life. When her husband divorces her, Lindsey makes the trek again and meets up with long-lost love, Campbell Forrester, whose own marriage dissolved years earlier. Unsure they can rekindle their youthful love, both Lindsey and Campbell struggle to make the leap from teenage infatuation to a lasting adult commitment. Whalen's use of a mailbox as the tie between people, memories, and romantic love is intriguing, and she makes it work more effectively than a reader might expect. (June)
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Friday, April 23, 2010

In Tents Again

Today I have a devotion running at P31. The funny thing about this devotion is I wrote it before Curt lost his job!! And so, as I re-read it last week in preparation for it to go out today, I was struck by how applicable this devotion was for me personally. We definitely feel like we've gone backwards in the last few months. We wonder why his unemployment has gone on so long. We ask God what His plans are. Then we ask again. And then we quietly trust, reasserting that His plans are right and perfect and remembering that none of this has taken Him by surprise.

We definitely understand the feeling of being in tents again. And yet, we also know that it is there, in those tents, that God works on our hearts, restating Truths we have forgotten and refining our character and our faith as we draw closer to Him.

If you are in tents again in your life, know you are not alone. There are others-- like us-- who are struggling with the feeling of going backwards. But there is also One who has never left you. He goes forward with you and He also goes backwards. Wherever you are, there He is. May we all remember that today.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

She Speaks Scholarship Contest!

ETA: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you for entering!

I will never forget my first time at She Speaks. I learned a valuable lesson there. Perhaps it will be good for those of you who are considering going to hear what I learned.

I knew that I had to present a short speech but, in the weeks leading up to the conference, I struggled to come up with something to share. Nothing seemed to fit. I wondered and pondered and prayed. I got all the way to Saturday afternoon and still had nothing. I worried that I was going to stand in front of my group, open my mouth and nothing was going to come out. I brooded, I blanched, I begged God to let me disappear.

When nothing else worked, I went to my room where it was quiet and prayed for God to give me something-- anything-- to share. A memory filled my mind of the time my 2 year old son got hit by a car in a McDonald's parking lot (he was ok, don't worry). This memory had all the elements I was looking for-- drama, humor, and a great parallel to our spiritual lives. I ran through how to tell the story a few times and then went down to my group to share it. It was-- I discovered-- not as hard or as heavy as I had made it.

I left She Speaks having learned a valuable truth about speaking. I didn't have to go into every event polished and perfect. Sometimes it was better to go into the event void and vulnerable. In my desperation, God showed up. He supplied a great story that I had totally forgotten about. I still share that story when I speak to this day.

You never know what you will learn at She Speaks. You might go there wondering why you're even there. You might feel foolish, like an impostor. (I did!) You might be there to speak or to write or to become equipped to better lead the women you come in contact with within your sphere of influence. Those might be your initial reasons for coming... but you will find so much more once you get there. In the faces of the other women, in the quiet of the prayer room, in the praises of your fellow sisters, at the foot of the cross, you will find Him in a way you've never seen Him before. You might come wondering, but you will leave knowing: This is why I came. As someone said last year, "He speaks at She Speaks." What He has to say is not to be missed.

Want to come to She Speaks? You can visit the conference site at

Proverbs 31 is having a scholarship contest starting today on all of the P31 speakers' blogs. For your chance to win, leave a comment here, and you can visit the other speakers' blogs (listed in my sidebar) for more chances.

Here are a few contest rules for you to keep in mind:

You have until midnight on Friday, April 23rd to post comments. This particular contest is geared towards speakers who have never attended She Speaks who would not otherwise be able to attend. If you can afford the conference, please do not enter. Your comment should briefly tell us what winning would mean to you in answering God's call to speak. A winner will be randomly chosen from all comments and announced on Monday, April 26th.

Best wishes and be sure to look on Monday over at to find out who the winner is!

And if you are looking for some inspiration in the area of speaking and writing, don't forget about my books For The Write Reason and The Reason We Speak (links are in the sidebar)-- these are great resources written by experienced, wise contributors.
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Friday, April 16, 2010

TV Turnoff Week

TV turnoff week begins next week (April 19-25). I am thinking about participating. For those of you who have turned off the tv in your homes, what suggestions do you have to share? If you haven't yet, are you game to participate? I will report back next week as to how it went for us. I am excited and nervous! I will admit to using the tv as a babysitter for my kids from time to time. There. I said it.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Romans 12:2 (New International Version)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I read this verse in my quiet time this morning. Well, read is a strong word. In reality my eyes scanned over it because I've read it many times before. I knew it already... or did I? The word "transformed" caught my eye and I read back over it, this time paying attention.

I knew I needed to be transformed. I need my situation transformed, my perspective, my outlook. I need transformation-- how do I get it? By renewing my mind. I renew my mind by reading God's word, hearing from Him as I do and then applying it in my life.

I thought about how we all need transformation in our lives. It might be our situation that needs to be transformed-- a rocky marriage, a job loss, a wayward child. It might be our attitude that needs to be transformed-- how we feel about being a full-time mom taking care of our children's endless needs, the way we treat our spouse, how we handle where we are in life. It might be our perspective that needs to be transformed-- how we see ourselves when we look in the mirror, how we receive God's love, what we see when we peer into the future.

No matter who we are, we need transformation because God didn't create us to stay the same. He whispered change into the fiber of our being, knowing we would struggle with it, resist it, and embrace it at different points in our lives. He wants us to be transformed, changed a bit more with each passing day. To leave us where we are would be boring and stagnant. My transformation requires more transformation, a chain reaction.

Right now I am not loving the changes in my life, the transformation that's being required of me. And yet, I know that transformation is necessary. Stagnant water stinks and so does a stagnant life. And so I keep seeking God as I allow Him to transform me, clinging to His word and letting Him guide me through the transformation, step by step, one truth at a time.

PS. I wrote this post while listening to David Gray's Transformation. A fitting song, dont'cha think??
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scenarios For Girls Nicole O'Dell

Greetings to all of you who stop by today after reading the devotion! My post today is an introduction to a very cool friend of mine, who has written some very cool books for teens and tweens. Read on!

Check out this great article on my friend Nicole O'Dell. Nicole is the mom of six and a writer (sound familiar?) She also agreed to write YA reviews for She Reads each month, which made me love her even more! She's a go-getter and I stand amazed at what she accomplishes-- all with a great attitude and outlook.

And if you're looking for great books for daughters, check out her Scenarios series. Both my 15 and my 10 yo read these books and loved them. That's saying a LOT when a 10 yo and a 15 yo can both read them and get something out of them! So I urge you to check these out. (Don't have a daughter? I bet you have a niece or granddaughter... or a kid at church... or a neighbor... You get the point. These books are worth buying for the girls in your life!)

Thanks Nicole for sharing your technique for painting different scenarios of where our choices take us. Good lessons I was glad to share with my daughters!
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Writing Contest: She Speaks Scholarship

This is a post from Glynnis Whitwer, editor of P31 Woman. She asked those of us on the team to help spread the word about this wonderful opportunity!

Have you ever had a dream?

A dream that you tucked deep in your heart, and were afraid to even speak

Every year women come to the Proverbs 31 Ministries She Speaks Conference
with just such dreams. It may be a dream to write, or speak. It may be a dream to lead a women's Bible study, or start a ministry to unwed mothers.

As the director of the writer's track at She Speaks, I meet women every year
who are wondering if they have what it takes to write. They might think the
dream is foolish ... because who would read what they have to say? But the
dream beats so hard in their chest they just had to come to the conference.
However, they tenderly protect that dream, even as they put themselves out
there for all the world to see.

Is that you? Do you have a dream to write but haven't taken the first step?
Or have you been writing for awhile but know God is prompting you to take
the next step in your writing journey?

Today, I have the privilege of announcing a contest to help someone take
that next step of obedience in their dream to write.

Thanks to the generosity of author extraordinaire, Cecil Murphey, I will be
giving away one scholarship to attend the She Speaks 2010 Conference, held
July 30-August 1 in Concord, North Carolina. If you haven't heard of Cecil
Murphy's amazing newsletters for writers, you'll want to click here
to subscribe for free! While you are there, spend some time reading about Cec. He's coming to the conference and will be speaking to all the writers, and meeting one-on-one for some
informal coaching.

And to win it, all you have to do is write an article that would be
appropriate for publication in the P31 Woman Magazine. We'll pick one
article as the winner. In addition to winning the scholarship, we'll also
publish that article in the magazine. Kind of like icing on the best cake
you have ever eaten!

We may also select some honorable mentions, and will publish those if we do.

So - how do you win this amazing prize? Here are the rules for the She
Speaks Scholarship Contest:

1. You must not have attended She Speaks in past years.

2. Write a 500-1000 word article that would be appropriate for publication
in the P31 Woman Magazine. See the guidelines on the link to the magazine, and see
archived feature articles for a sample of our style.

3. Only enter one (1) article per person.

4. You can either attach the article in a Word document or include it in
the email. Include a creative title and your name.

5. Email the article to me at editor@proverbs31 on or before Thursday April
15, 2010 at midnight.

6. If you have a blog, please help us promote the She Speaks Conference by
writing about this contest and linking to the She Speaks Conference
site. If you want to post the She Speaks button on your site, feel free to copy it. But it is not a

7. The winner of this contest will be awarded a scholarship for the cost of
one person's registration for the 2010 She Speaks conference.

The value of this scholarship is $575 which includes your conference
materials, conference registration, 2 nights at the conference hotel and
meals associated with the conference. Please note it does not include any
travel expenses. Also, you will be assigned a roommate or you have the
option to pay the extra charge for a private room. This scholarship is
transferable, but only for someone who has not attended the conference. It
cannot be traded for cash.

Your article will be evaluated by the P31 Woman editing team, and we will
announce the winner on April 21st.

This is the first year we have scholarships to offer, and we are thanking
God and Cecil Murphey for this opportunity. Please pray about what to
submit. And, if you aren't a writer, please send a note to someone you know
who is and encourage her to enter! Your encouragement might just make all the difference in inspiring her to pursue her dreams!
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... another beautiful spring day. I keep thanking God for letting spring arrive. I was ever so ready.

I am thinking... about the plans for our small group cookout tonight. We will have 23 people here for hamburgers and hotdogs!

I am thankful... for the Easter weekend we had. From Passover Friday night all the way to Easter dinner Sunday night, it was a great, full weekend.

I am wearing... sweats and an old tee shirt-- a workout is in my immediate future.

I am remembering... how precious my children looked in their Easter finery.

I am creating... a menu plan for tonight's cookout-- hamburgers and hotdogs and chips and baked beans and drinks and an ice cream sandwich cake for dessert!

I am going... to meet a new friend today to talk books and writing-- my favorite conversation to have!

I am hoping and praying... Curt gets a job. We so appreciate all of you who have emailed, messaged me on Facebook, or left comments here to tell us you are praying as well. Still no real prospects but we are hoping and praying a real opportunity materializes soon.

From the learning rooms... April is poetry month so we're reading Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire and The Wonder Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

I am reading... The Journal Keeper: A Memoir by Phyllis Theroux

I am hearing... My 4yo chattering about whatever pops into her brain. The girl has a lot to say. Guess she comes by it honest.

From the kitchen... leftovers from Easter. Need to get creative with all the leftover ham.

Around the house... Spring Break is this week for my kids. We are not doing a lot but I am trying to plan some fun, inexpensive things: Park days, dollar movies, a trip to Barnes and Noble to play with the train table and browse or the library, friends over, etc. Mostly we are just enjoying the time to sleep later and have no schedule for a week.

One of my favorite things... a clean, organized closet. I took 30 minutes and cleaned mine out yesterday. It was well worth it. Now when I look at it I think "Ah" instead of "Ugh."

A few plans for the rest of the week... time with friends, a park day and picnic, and the David Gray concert I've been looking forward to since I got the tickets for Christmas!! Don't know who he is? Check out this video for just a sampling of his musical brilliance. Here's the song he's most known for in America. And here's his latest. And this one's my ringtone. Yeah, I'm a fan.
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Monday, April 05, 2010

Scheduling Your Writing

Because I know some of you are writers, I will occasionally post helpful writing tips I come across. I do officially have a writing blog, but I've found I get too scattered when I try to keep my blogs separate. So this blog is my hodgepodge of stuff-- thoughts on life, things God is teaching me, tips on home organization, recipes, updates, and writing info-- it all goes into this one catchall. If something doesn't appeal to you, by all means skip it!

All of that to say, I did find this very informative post that is the closest explanation of how I schedule my writing. The only difference I would say is that I use word count instead of page numbers-- I have a certain number of words I am going for and I figure out how many words per day I need to use.

But this will get you started. If you need a more focused, disciplined writing life, try this idea. It totally helped me set a deadline and then stick to it.
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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Easter Plans

So how are you all celebrating Easter this year?

We already started celebrating yesterday with a simple lunch with friends who are more like family, followed by an impromptu trip to get ice cream. We sat outside in the glorious weather and talked and just enjoyed time together.

Then it was time to get home to get ready for Passover Seder with friends. This was my third Messianic Passover and it was so good to go again. If you've never done this before, look around in your community for a Messianic church who may offer this next year and make an effort to go. It will make a lasting impression on you, I can promise. God instructed His people to look for Christ in the elements of the Seder dinner thousands of years before He came. And He continues to instruct us to look for Him, to remember that He came so that we can come to Him. I can't think of a better way to kick off Easter weekend, than by remembering that!

Today will be spent doing some final grocery shopping and cooking, and cleaning too.

And then tomorrow is the big day-- Easter services at Elevation at Time Warner Arena in uptown Charlotte! If you live in Charlotte and would like to attend church tomorrow but don't have a church home, join us! Elevation is expecting 10,000 people tomorrow. Check out to see the plans to bless our city through this special service. I am blessed to be a part of this dynamic, audacious church.

After church we will head home for a lunch of ham, deviled eggs (though it seems they should have a different name on Easter Sunday-- angel eggs??), rolls, green beans, corn, and sweet potato casserole. We're having a banana pudding trifle (courtesy of my mom) and a strawberry cake for dessert. I have made a simple centerpiece by filling a hurricane glass with plastic Easter eggs and Easter grass and I am pleased with how it turned out. I love it when I can get creative by using what I already have and not spending a bunch of money!!

After lunch is an Easter egg hunt in our backyard, then a little time to rest before we head to my in-laws' for another Easter egg hunt (this one features money in the eggs so my kids do NOT want to miss that one) and another big meal.

Then I plan to come home and collapse from a full day. A day spent celebrating Jesus' resurrection and victory over death. Remembering what He did so we could come to Him, so we could know Him. If you do not know Him, I pray that you find a church tomorrow and let Him speak to you, hear His invitation to you and respond. He is real, He is alive, He is Lord. Hallelujah!
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Thursday, April 01, 2010

Green Leaves

Some of you saw my tweet/Facebook status yesterday indicating that Curt and I had both hit a wall of discouragement. Several factors were at play in this happening, but I will say that it is/was a very hard thing to face. I do better when I have a good outlook and perspective. When I allow myself to slip down in that pit of despair, it's not good. But sometimes too many things hit at once and it does happen.

This morning my quiet time was on the value of work. This was one of the hardest quiet times I've ever had as every verse I read seemed to contradict where we are. What if your spouse isn't a sluggard and desperately wants a job... but can't find one?? What then?? I went to my journal and poured out my heart to God. And then I asked Him, again, for a job for my husband. At what point am I the widow who went back to the judge so many times that she wore him out (Luke 18:1-8) and at what point am I babbling like a pagan, not relying on my Heavenly Father to know what I need (Matthew 6:7-8)? I can't make sense out of these two examples-- which am I to do? So I speak what is on my heart and hope that God understands. Yet deep down I worry that somehow we are doing this wrong... that if we did it right, obviously this would be over.

And then, because I try to pick a verse every day that speaks to me, I picked this one-- which wasn't even one of my verses in my study but just one my eye fell to when I was on that page. "Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf." (Proverbs 11:28) Maybe it's just that our city is turning green as spring takes root and I am celebrating the green leaves coming back, or maybe it's that I know I have a tendency to trust in riches-- to put more stock in what's in the bank than in what God can do-- but that verse spoke to me. I don't want to take the pulse of this family based on what is or isn't in our bank account but on the path of righteousness we are walking. I want to thrive like a green leaf, not fall like a dead one.

And so today I will be seeing the green leaves in a different way than I did yesterday, as a sign of hope and a promise of what's to come. It's much better than wallowing in a pit.
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