Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Today I'm Thinking About My Fellow Mamas...

“Black Lives Matter”

I know this is obvious. Of course black lives matter. All life matters. But today I stood on a snowy cold corner in my multiracial town of Montclair, NJ, and held this sign.

Why? Because I felt called to take a stand for all my friends, particularly my friends who are raising black sons and who fear for their children’s livesnot because these young men have done anything wrong, but these mama-friends know their kids are at risk simply because of the color of their skin.

Just one stat from the NAACP…
African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.

This is so unlike me to join a rally. I don’t like controversy. I’m a peacemaker. I always have been. I don’t like trouble. “I’m a lover, not a fighter.” I’ll speak with you directlyand you’ll know what I believe. You’ll know that I believe all people are God’s people, dearly loved, created in His image. And I’ll pray, oh yes, I’ll pray a lot, I’ll pray with boldness, I’ll pray with faith, I’ll take a stand in prayer.

But, in my 56 years, I have never felt led to rally publicly for anything. (Maybe I should’ve by now, but that’s another topic.)

My daughter, a bright-eyed bushy haired college student, speaks out for justice for all. And I’m proud of her, but she scares me. Will she go too far with speaking up? Will someone hate her for her love, for her passion, for her unwillingness to sit still and stand by quiet when she sees, feels, senses, experiences injustice? I pray for her protection. I don’t want her to ruffle feathers. But I guess human dignity is worth ruffling a few feathers.

And hers was the voice I heard this morning, this very gray icy morning.

“Some of the kids from the high school are holding a rally today…”

“Really? Because of Ferguson?”

She nodded.

Well let’s go!”

She was surprised. She knows this is not like me. She knows I’d gladly sit home and pray while she stands on that corner, joining others signs and voices raised,

“Black Lives Matter!”

“Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”

But today I joined this little group of mostly kids who stood out there in freezing rain. And I was encouraged by the many who beeped their horns in support. I was touched by the young teenager who asked what we were doing, and grabbed a sign to join us.

I know there is a lot of controversy surrounding the death of Mike Brown. Lots of discussions. Lots of violenceand way too much hate on all sides of the issue. There were a couple of hate mongers who passed by our rally tooI won’t dignify their words by repeating them.

But I also know a young man with promise is dead.

And that’s not okayon any day.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Maybe Your "To-Do" Today is Wait!

How to Trust God in the Waiting

My husband and I are in a state of transition. We’re “on the other side of something” to quote singer Sara Groves. We’re on the other side of raising our kids, of the big 5-0, let’s face itwe’re on the other side of life.

It’s one of those seasons when things are a bit uncertain. It’s not a terrible time, though I confess I do have to fight worry. Because there are more questions than answers. Questions like…

  •        Should we move, now that the kids are grown? And since that’s a probable…
  •        Where should we move? To a home nearby? A bigger move? To an apartment? Another house?
  •        What will Chris do when he finishes his dissertation?
  •        Am I concentrating on the work that I’m called to? Is there something else?
  •        What’s our five-year plan? Our10-year plan?
  •        What are the things I/we want to experience, see, concentrate onWhat’s on my/our bucket list?

And what does all this have to do with God-sized Dreams?

Well, when life seems a bit up in the airmy dreams seem a bit up in the air, too.

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Friday, October 31, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing

The Power of Speaking the Truth in Love

When I think of friendship, I think of gifts. Because really, isn’t friendship made up of gifts exchanged - time, love, care, sorrows, honor, life?

There are many friends who have come in and out of my life.

Many old friends who I touch base with every year or soeven friends from long ago who are now just Facebook friends. Still the gift of friendship continues, sometimes in lasting memories, impressions, or impact.

One friend who is no longer a day-to-day friend, but still a treasured one who gave me a gift that kept on giving is Elysia. We’re still in touch. In fact, I talked to her for two hours the other day on the heels of her beloved dad’s passing. We were good friends in high school. Though we mostly hung out in different groups, they were groups that intersected often.

Our friendship began through our parents. Continue reading here...

Joining the lovely and very talented Kimberly Coyle as a guest!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

God-Sized Dreams - The Cost of Comparing Our Dreams

When You’re Afraid Your God-sized Dream is too Much Like Hers

Do you ever wonder, “Why should I bother trying to realize my God-sized Dream?”
After all…
Elaine has an established platform.
Jennifer has money to spend on her dream.
Catie has connections that swing doors wide open.
And, Susie? Well, she can afford to hire a babysitter…so she can dedicate more time to move her dream forward.

Oh my…this pit of comparison, it’s deep. And it can be really hard to climb up on out of it. (<====Tweet This)

I knowI’ve been there.
I’ve gotten stuck down there in the muck and the mire of lies. I’ve taken my eyes off my dream and placed them squarely on the dream progress of others. And you know what happens then?

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 10

The Case for Writing Prompts

10 Top Things My Allume Roommates Should Know About Me 

Scenes from last year's Allume Conference

Here I am with the beautiful Holley Gerth.
She's real, loving, and the ultimate encourager!

Some of the God-Sized Dream Girls at Allume
That's my hair on the left!!

Circles of Faith CoFounder and Managing Editor Kimberly Amici 
with the beautiful generous Ann Voskamp.

I'm going to the Allume Conference - writers/bloggers/communicators conference soon. And I'm really excited. This will be my third year attending. I love it! It's a place to learn, connect, exchange information, friendship, and fellowship. 

I'm also working on Writing for 31 Days and when I saw Allume was doing a LinkUp that invited us to either share our About page or 10 Top Things My Roommates Should Know About Me, well I considered this a good writing challenge for today. I am finding that if nothing else, this 31 Days of Writing journey is indeed teaching me things about writing. 

So my personal writing lesson from today:

Writing Prompts Can Help You Write

So here are some things my Allume roommates should know about me:

  1. I am a party girl. And by that, in this case, I mean I love being with other girls in a room, having a sleepover party. I love those sleepy whispers exchanged from our beds into the stillness of the night. (This might come from the fact that every night until my oldest sister left (me!) for college, we would go into one another's room and chat until we sleepwalked back into our own rooms.)
  2. Don't worry, my party girl ways won't keep you up at night. Though I love to chat, I know Allume can tire a girl out. All that talking and visiting and writing and listening. And besides, I love my sleep.
  3. I love getting to know you. While I love people and enjoy meeting new friends...I definitely like to engage a little more deeply. So if you have time, I'd really like to know more about you. What's your sweet spot? What's your passion? What do you struggle with? Let's talk!
  4. I'm a praying gal. Do you have a prayer request? A prayer need? Something that's heavy on your heart? I would love to pray with you. I have been praying in a group for my kids as part of the ministry of Moms In Prayer International for over 20 years. And now I guest post on their blog, which I love!
  5. I am a writer, editor, writing coach, and I love to speak too! What do you like to do? How do you most like to communicate? Let's inspire one another. Let's talk through some of our goals. I'm sure there are things we can learn from each other.
  6. I am an official MOPs Mentor Mom. The first time I went to Allume two years ago in Harrisburg, PA, I had a funny feeling that I couldn't place. And then it dawned on me...I was about 20 years older than the average Allume attendee. I didn't like that at first. However, I can now say I have fully embraced where I am in life. I am over 50, married for 30 years November 10, have four grown children, a son-in-love, and a precious grandbaby who is heading toward one year old!! And I have learned a lot from life!
  7.  I am the Executive Editor and CoFounder of - Where Faith, Life, and Community Intersect - But since for the most part, I am rooming with the other CoFounder Kimberly Amici, well you already know that! We are a team of 19 women who are passionate about sharing stories that Inspire, Empower, and Connect. We would love you to join our community...and we welcome you to share your story too!
  8. I am also a part of the God-sized Dreams Community - Where Dreams Set Sail - What a blessing! This was a book launch group for Holley Gerth's You're Made for a God-Sized Dream. It's turned into a community of support and encouragement amongst women who are somewhere on the journey of pursuing their God-sized dreams. Join us there...because YOU are made for a God-sized dream!
  9. I have many stories yet to write. Some big stories, some just moments in time. How about you? I have a big story about how God met me in some deep and heavy places. How He showed up when I needed Him most. How His love shone through the challenges of losing twins when I was five months pregnant, parenting my tweenage stepdaughter when I was having babies...and was so ill-equipped, and my husband's very serious accident that left him with severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Bits of the story have been shared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries and Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware. Some day, I would love to share the whole story in a book and through speaking. I'd like to do both with my husband, who is a living breathing miracle! 
  10. I love your story! You have one...and it matters to me, to God, to others. Stories are so powerful. They provide an opportunity to grow, learn, deepen our faith. When we exchange them, I believe they inform, reform, and transform. I've seen this time and time again. So please share your story with me! I'd love to hear it. I know we will both be impacted by the telling and the hearing!
Roomies and non-Roomies alike, I'm looking forward to getting to know you better at Allume. 

P.S. I know this post is full of a crazy amount of links...but just wanted to make it convenient in case you wanted to check out the things/people/places I mention.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

31 Days of Writing

31 Days of Writing - Day 9

What’s Stopping You from Reaching Your Writing Dreams?

So when it comes to writing for 31 days, you could say I’m a big failure. Because I haven’t managed to write every day.* No, not at all.

However, I am learning some things along the journey of “not writing.”

  1. Writing Has To Be Non-Negotiable – Writing is on my very long list of To-Dos. However, I treat it as though it’s entirely flexible and movable. And so while it’s on the list, I easily move it lower on the list as I allow the tyranny of the urgent to take precedence
  2. There Is No Such Thing as “Finding Time” – When is the last time you “found time,” discovering it like an unexpected jewel in your day? For me, this is a rare moment. I have pressing due dates at all times. So when I have a 1/2 hour, my tendency is to think about what’s due next. What do I have to do? I put off the writing I want to do till after that. This cycle continues day after day with no writing completed.
  3. Writing Requires Me to “Make Time” – Of course, I can’t actually make time. However, I can make sure there is time marked off intentionally in my schedule to write. I can make sure I don’t keep moving my writing slot lower and lower on my To-Do list.
  4. Writing Requires Quieting and Slowing Down – I have not yet found a way in my busy day to write while I am doing something else with someone else. No! Writing necessitates thought, time, focus, and being willing to step out of the fun, the busy (which I confess energizes me), the party (not really parties, though I do love a good party, rather I have to step away from the group activities).
  5. Writing Requires a Schedule – In some ways my little list here is inverted. Because really, this lack of schedule may be the crux of the matter. While I have a sort of big picture list, I have been working on laying out a detailed schedule within the confines of work hours for more years than I care to tell you. I know this would be good for me. But I resist. It’s as though I say to myself, “No one is going to tell me what exactly to do with my daynot even me!” Talk about counterproductive.

So what’s a writer to do? I guess I have to start with what looks like the end on my list. I have to stop balking at a more structured life (This is why I’m a freelancer and not a nine-to-fiver, so it is a challenge!). I have to anticipate and the accomplishments that come through discipline alone.

Wish me luck! 

What are the stumbling blocks to your writing? If you want to write, what’s stopping you?

* Just letting you knowEvery workday is in fact dedicated to writing, editing, and coaching projects. This is my career and of course I complete all my assignments. The writing I’m not getting to is the writing I like to do on my blog – reflective, personal, recounting blessings, and learning from life.

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