Solitude

Solitude. 

Sometimes, I just need stillness.

Silence. Do you find it comforting or does it make you uncomfortable?

At my writing group the other day, my friend captured the essence of why I must write.

She said… I find writing a time of solitude to connect with my inner self.

Sometimes,  I feel as though I will emotionally burst if I do not write. I keep a prayer journal. I write poetry. I blog. I write devotionals.

Writing is sweet release. It is also my sacred time of quiet solitude.

As my friends and I talked about solitude and silence, one of them made the comment that some people can’t handle long commutes because of the solitude. I look forward to the quiet of my commute. I pray. I listen to music. I think. I calm my thoughts.

Connection with others is a great thing, but sometimes you need solitude to reconnect with yourself first. In these quiet moments, I can pray. I can calmly breathe. I can put things in perspective. I remember Who is in control. 

This morning as I prepare for a whirlwind of a day, I take these few moments of solitude to refocus. Everything will be okay.

In what ways do you find your own place of solitude?

31 Days of Gratitude: Writing Connections

What I love about stepping out in faith, is it often leads to completely unexpected blessings that flow from a simple yes to God.

I wrote about unexpected blessings a week or so ago, but I wanted to share a little more about this in the context of writing.

I have attended a few different writing conferences and from these conferences, from stepping out in faith in a scary way, I have made some amazing connections. I want to share about my experience at the Breathe Christian Writing conference a few years ago. During the conference, I met a woman named Linda. We sat together at a few sessions. At the closing session, the speaker encouraged us to find a writing partner. I leaned over and asked her if she had one. She did not, and she agreed, although she did not share my ambitious desire to wake up at 4 am to write!!

Fast forward…our writing partner connection has become friend connection to best friend connection. We write, we laugh, we travel together, and we both just attended the Breathe conference again this year. She just started her blog. I would love for you to stop by and take a moment to read her musings on life.  Linda’s Blog

Today, I am grateful for connections.

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31 Days of Gratitude: Unexpected Blessings 

Life does not always go as we plan and definitely not as we wish.

Sometimes, our prayers are answered seemingly right away with a definite yes. Sometimes, it appears as though God is saying NO. Sometimes, though, the answer is actually a wait… 

Not a no, but a wait and Trust Me I have something far better in store for you.

That little hand in the picture belongs to my son. As my husband and I had prayed for a baby and month after month, no answer, no pregnancy, just an empty womb…

God wasn’t saying no, but wait.

At the same time of our prayers, our son was born halfway around the world. Five years later, I was blessed when a beautiful, loving orphanage worker placed my son in my arms for the first time.

So many blessings have poured from this one. Our daughter discovered the beginning of a growing love for mission work and since our trip to the Philippines, she has been on three mission trips. Another amazing blessing…a family reached out to us.. their son from the same orphanage. Every year for the past seven years, we have spent precious time together. Not only have our sons enjoyed their yearly reunion, but our families have become closely connected.

Some of the greatest gifts in my life have been completely unexpected.

Another great example of God’s work in my life…I attended a writing conference two years ago and met a writing partner. She is now my treasured best friend to walk with me not only on my writing journey but the journey of life as well.

Sometimes, the answer to prayer may be yes. Sometimes, no… perhaps God is protecting us from something or maybe He is really saying wait, My child, something better is in store. And, sometimes, He pours blessings out when we least expect it.

Today, I am grateful for unexpected blessings.

31 Days of Gratitude: Story

I have just spent two wonderful days at the Breathe Christian writing conference. The theme this year? Celebrate story.

Everyone has a story. 

Ask any waitress, any counselor, any teacher, anyone who works in long term care… everyone has a story.

I spend my days working with elders. Each elder brings a life story when they enter our community. My days are busy, but the best days, the days that I feel most fulfilled by my work, are the days I have taken time to listen to someone’s story.

I also have the opportunity to freelance write for our community’s local newspaper. My assignments are always feature stories. Again, I have the opportunity to listen to story.

Story matters.

Story shapes us and in turn shapes others. 

God is writing the story of our lives. I am learning to trust Him as the author of my life. Only He knows the chapters, the plot twists, the ending. 

Our story is who we are. We learn, we live, we grow, we relate, we interact, we listen. 

I love story. I love to read stories. I love to listen to the stories of the elders I work with. 

I am grateful God is the author of my story. I just need to listen and obey and trust Him to write it.

Can you trust Him with your story?

Generation after generation stands in awe of Your work; each one tells stories of Your mighty acts. I compose songs on Your wonders. I could write a book full of the details of Your greatness. Psalms 145:4-6 The Message 

 

Unexpected Blessings…

Unexpected blessings….

I invite you to check out my guest post on the Breathe Christian writing conference blog. If you live anywhere close to Grand Rapids, Michigan, I highly recommend this writing conference.

Unexpected Blessings…

It’s an amazing conference with an amazing group of supportive Christian writers…you will be encouraged and inspired!

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The flowing of words…

I have always loved words. They have always easily flowed on the paper or the screen for me. Words are my way of expressing, explaining life around me.

One of the biggest steps of faith I have ever taken as a writer has been to identify myself as a writer…openly to others.

Attending a writing conference helps remind me why I write and encourages me to keep doing it…whether it is for myself, as a journal prayer to God, or a poem to express my thoughts.

One of my favorite conferences is the Breathe Christian conference in Michigan. It was there that I learned all about blogging and took the leap of faith to begin this blog. It is there that I met my writing partner now turned best friend. It is there that I had the best gluten free chocolate cake ever. 🙂

I had the privilege of guest blogging on the Breathe Conference blog…I invite you to read why story matters to me… Why Story Matters…

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Reflections from a Weekend Writing Conference

I love writers’ conferences. I just attended my seventh writing conference. This particular conference was held at Anderson University in Anderson, Indiana. It is called the Indiana Faith and Writing conference http://faithandwriting.com/.

The thing about writing conferences is that suddenly a room full of introverts appear to be extremely extroverted. This can be wonderful and scary to a writer all at the same time. At a Christian writing conference, the support from the writing community can feel welcoming and supportive, but it can also feel intimidating and overwhelming. So, why do I attend writing conferences?

  1. I always learn something helpful to propel me along this scary journey called writing.
  2. I always come home inspired to write more.
  3. I always come home with crazy ambitions like telling myself I will get up at 4:00 in the morning to write.
  4. I meet some great people.
  5. I know and believe that God can use anything at any time to bless me.

What exactly do I mean by number 5? Last year, I attended a writing conference to learn about blogging and gain some much needed writing inspiration and motivation. I left with that and more…a new writing partner. Over the course of the year, this writing partner has become not only my writing partner but my best friend. I was blessed to attend the AU writing conference with her this year. God truly does use anything at any time to bless us if we are obedient and respond in trust. This gift of friendship continues to bless me in more ways than I could have imagined. He truly is faithful.

Ephesians