A Call To Create And Cultivate (listen to the heartbeat of your calling)

A Call to Create and Cultivate

Two blue doors flung open wide, once a month, for every woman that dares to chooses to gather together. Where we learn to live a life of transparency and glean the words of other woman in the same seasons.

There is a raw realness when women gather together and their hearts crave the very best for their motherhood.

For three years, I have cleared the legos off the living room floor, put fresh cut flowers out on the table, made a simple snack and opened my front porch doors wide to the generations of mother’s.
There are pens, hair bands and other mysteries under my couch cushions.
The front door still shines fingerprints half way high and some nights we have a mom sweetly yell for a roll of toilet paper from the bathroom.
There is nothing more beautiful than creating a space that shines Jesus calling.


A room full of laughter, sharing the nitty gritty of motherhood and drinking tall glasses of iced lemonade.


No fancy finger foods, no guest speakers or programs.


Just us. The best of motherhood. Right there together. Real and raw.

And then one evening…it hit me.

These are my women. The ARE me.

We each represent the very thing that make our lives hard and yet beautiful on any given day.

But we make a conscientious choice every month to create a place, a personal connection and a priority to our calling.

I was called to live large in small ways.  Things. People. Purpose.

That could take me across the continent, across town or a great divide people.  Yet, here I am cultivating the very thing I was called to.  A walking, living example of the words I pen.

We have a Creator that gave us every good and perfect gift.

Is it any wonder we have a passion, a bent or a desire to make something beautiful?

 To watch it grow is the miracle.

The Maker has called us to create and cultivate.

Ignoring this passion, or pushing it deep down when life become muddled with confusion or busy schedules, will turn your creativity and calling into a dim light.

We have a little piece of heaven here on earth that God has given us to steward.

Creating is the easy part; the stepping in the right direction. The following. The pursuit of your passion.

Listen to the heartbeat of your calling.

Cultivating is growing this place, the personhood God created in you. He notched a special nook inside of every one of us for refuge and reminders. When we stop listening we lose our creativity.

The women gathered in my living room do not need to step onto my front porch every month. I do not need to bare my heart to the calling of motherhood and share the real and the raw. Opening up the spaces on the floor, the couches and in my heart.  But, I listened. God created this place in me and around me.

It is growing. It is His space. Notched out for just for us. A place of beauty and growth.

Remaining steadfast in the knowledge that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it.

Your space is your calling.  Own it and place a banner of truth over it.

Take time to discover those things that draw your heart strings together as they feel frayed and purpose-less.

There is peace in the pause. Grow and cultivate the longing He has begun in you from the very beginning of your own creation.

Wide open, Small spaces create and cultivate beauty.  It’s up to you.

Let the words on the horizontal lines of your paper come alive and make a difference.

Horizontal lines are for more than words. Bring your creativity alive.

Person to person. Places and spaces.

You were created for such a time as this.

How Doubt Can Run You Dry (and your pen, for that matter)

Pen to Paper

I have this colorful pile of moleskin journals stacked just about everywhere. By my bed, on my desk, in my purse, in the van and probably in a bag that I have yet to unpack.

I always privately joke that the day I go to live with Jesus, my poor family will have a years worth of work piecing all of my words together as I would scratch them out here and there and then stop. Moving on to the next one.

It is not that I don’t have complete thoughts. Or that I have filled my journals.

I begin writing with a passion and a pulse from heart and as soon as I get paragraphs deep, I stop. And those words never amount to any thing other than scribble on a page.

Because, who will understand? Are my ideas silly, or unwanted? Will I be judged by the place that my words will take me. Should I keep them quiet or press them onto a larger page or platform?

Questions that we might be asking ourselves on repeat.

When you play doubt over and over in your mind, all of your passion will be like withered grass. In the wind.

Doubt will stop you in your tracks and you will change the color of your pen.

In the small of my writing place, where I have gathered my favorite things, and I sit in the middle of paper piles and colored pens, I write and plan and feel led in the calling God has on my life.

But days or late nights have come and gone where my husband has approached me with concern. He can see it before I am aware of the ugly work doubt is having on my life.

I’ve had my hand on the delete key so many times, that I am ashamed to say, I stopped hearing God.

Because stress, deadlines, people and the enemy can press doubt in like no other vice.

I was ready to take down my blog. For good.

I was ready to cancel the Generational Conference. Forever.

I was ready to put my kids in school.

I initially declined my agents request to sign.

Ready to delete all Social Media accounts.

And wishing to throw in the towel on my motherhood, the speaking requests and the book proposal.

Right there, hovering over the delete key for all of the above. And my husband could see that doubt had made its way past the truth and the calling.

Remember the truth about His calling on your life. It will not be easy.

Discard Doubt. Read, Recall, Repeat the truth. It will set you free.

When we delete the very things we were called to do, because doubt has crept into the sacred and holy space that God has called us unto, then we’ve allowed our confidence to be shaken.

Where you have peace and confidence in your calling, doubt cannot run you dry.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Press your pen to the paper and your passions to the Cross and let Him live in and through you.

Do not let doubt run you dry. You have been chosen for a perfect plan. I believe this.

In Him,
September

How To Build Up and Out (Tearing Down Walls)

How to Build Up and Out

I am married to a builder.  I am a writer.  We work in different worlds, but live and create in the same one.

He constructs frames for homes, and I put together sentences.  We tear down and rebuild and press on in our creativity and craft.

We do not speak the same languages.  We have to work to communicate our processes and our purposes. His tools are strange looking and sometimes dangerous.  My work space is cluttered with paper, pens, nouns and verbs.

Yet, we get one another because we have had to build a foundation that joins us together despite our differences. He builds homes, I build stories.  But together, we build bridges.

Because we have not built walls around our differences.

How do we fashion the two worlds together, with rough edges, deadlines and the strong desire for other person to just get us?

It is easier to construct walls of definition within our lives from those that are different than us. Mending fences and building the Kingdom is the very reason we give all control of our gifts and desires to Jesus.

How can we build the Kingdom of God greater for His glory, when we are so focused on in our own voice, in our own world and into the very next thing that brings us closer to the end goal that may not be perfectly fit into the bigger plan?

Those very people that live down the road from you.

The writer that shares a different voice.

The lonely stranger that you overlook.

The best way to build the Kingdom is to begin with tearing down the walls of differences.

Who are the real neighbors in my life that I could work harder to BUILD relationships with?

What is my message or craft and how can it intersect with others to BUILD the Kingdom?

Where am I most needed for Christ and am I going to BUILD a community there?

Why am I writing and how can it BUILD bridges with others?

When will I begin break down walls and BUILD others up with my words, my gifts and His Word?

Every working relationship needs a builder.  And every one we meet, talk to, write for and live around should be a relationship we are working on.

My builder brings me home dust and dirt, mud and loose nails, bolts and tools that could easily be considered clutter, a nuisance or a hindrance to my own space.

I have chosen to see this as a perfect opportunity to know Him better. To hear his dirt and to share my own.  To clean up his mess and to sweep away my own.  To allow our differences be the very glue that holds us together.

Our words have impact. Be careful what we say and write.  But more careful who we keep them from.

Build up and not around.  Fences can be mended, but walls are not as easy to tear down.  Especially if they have been constructed with precision and purpose.

Who or what is on your purpose list today?  Will you be building up and out, or around?

 

If Making a Difference Was Only a Country Away

Let Them See Jesus

Craziness.  Pure craziness.  A heavy rain was beating onto my windshield, the children were all buckled safely into their seats, and my tires pushed through the puddles forming on the side of the road.  We had a scheduled appointment we were trying to be on time for, and as the rain was almost a pleasant sound to my ears, it was working against the chatter of all of the children sitting behind me.

I was careful to swing wide on the next corner, for the drainage there was poor, and my large van would have pushed the water onto the person standing on the edge of the road.

The next swish of the windshield wiper brought a young woman into my view. Standing on the corner.  In the pouring rain, with a small yellow umbrella in her hand.  The yellow did not cover her head or her face.  She had a new baby strapped to her front , sleeping soundly and oblivious to the rain being caught above him and dripping down the sides of this mama’s face.

The clock was speaking to me.  Our appointment.  The rules of consciousness reared up in my mind.  Do not pick up strangers.  I was two stop lights past the corner, when I pulled the van into a parking lot.  Paused.  Looked into the mirror at my children and said, “Did you see that woman back there in the rain?”

They had.  They even saw the baby.  There were no words to be spoken. We went back.  She was still there.

I was in America.  Not Haiti.  Not Africa.  My compass was all turned around, yet we were turning in the right direction.

If only making a difference took us on a plane, and into the slums.  If my children never saw me snap pictures of hungry children, or women sacrificing for their kin, would they know how to be a living invitation?

Right here.  My difference always begins where I can see.

This poor woman must have thought me crazy.  You might be thinking that of me as well.  But, probably for different reasons.  She, for seeing a woman of a different color, a stranger, pull up to offer her a ride in the rain. You, for exposing my children to something unknown.

She asked if I was a shuttle service.  No.  (well, I guess I am a mom of ten with a 15 passenger van. So, yes.)

She asked if I was going her direction.  No, but I would take her any way.

Did I have an appointment we were late too?  Yes.  Were my children ok with that.  Totally.

She was still standing in the rain.  I could now see clearly her baby sleeping against her.  It was chilly, rainy, and she was wet. Very wet.  She stepped into the passenger front seat next to me.  It did not take her long to look behind her to all of the curious smiling children.

We exchanged names.  Her baby continued to sleep.  She asked me a lot of questions. And then she said,

“I have never met someone like you.”  She sits back and breathes a deep breath of the warmer air.  She checks on her baby. I can feel her looking at me again.

“There is something so different about you.  Even when you talk.  I do not know how to say it.  I just met you, but I hope some day I can be like you.”

My lungs exhaled a quiet, deep breath of Jesus.  She smiles.  She has heard of this before. But has never SEEN Jesus.

Jesus. If making a difference was only a country away, I would not be able to live here for… Jesus.

Every day.  Every single way.

You Will Never Be For Want

wisdom allume

“I am done.  I will be saying goodbye to Facebook, social media, my blog, and my conference.”  The computer lid closes more firmly than necessary.  The books and papers holding the new manuscript are pushed into the pile of things to ignore and never look back upon.

Silence. I finally met his eyes, hoping for a word of encouragement and the words to set my feet back into motion.  My husband was my sounding board.  He usually is.  He never flinched or seemed concerned.  I have never done this before.  It is usually a slow climb to overwhelmed and this was not it.  He let me close the chapter on confusion and didn’t give the words to press on.

“You need to search for the answers…like gold.”

The continual call of laundry, meals, homeschooling and precious children was becoming a low humming in my background.  The call to write and the ministry I knew God had called me to was sitting on the other side of a dried up pond.  And there was no way to reach it.  A thick fog had rolled in and I was unwilling to go there any more.

I was not going to be bound to a world behind the glass on my screen, where the mission would “carry on,” with or without me.

I kept my social media world on a short leash.  I put away my words, my goals, and my on-line responsibilities.

I put away my lack of focus and sought hard after something secret.  I was craving it, searching for it, and then it happened.  He spoke loudly and clearly.

The words slipped slowly from my lips, “Imagine a cup tied to a string and the careful and timely precision it takes to lower it into a narrow well to draw water for your lips.  Thirsty, dry lips.  You would want to be careful to not spill or tip the cup, for your thirst would never be quenched.”   … the cup is your life and the well is the Word, and we will learn to fill it with wisdom – for it is life giving.”   You will never be for want.

My own advice and lessons for this summer as I walk my daughters through another step in learning to study His Word.

WISDOM.

Understanding, happiness, pleasantness, peace.  Tree of Life, knowledge, discretion, focus, peace.

God has been speaking this word into my every breath and I hear Him speaking it into the night.  

The voices or pulls for our attention in this world are only distractions from a well-pool of rich rewards.  The lens we see the on-line world through may become distorted, demanding or oppressive.

When the heart cries:

  • Confusion
  • Lack of Focus
  • Comparison
  • Seeking gain
  • Doubt
  • Envy
  • Inability to learn from others
  • Striving and not thriving

Kingdom work remains focused and keeps a straight path.  Eyes never looking to the right or to the left. 

Put your distractions aside, and chase after WISDOM.

I am chasing hard.   The computer is not demanding my time, my vision for my home is coming back into focus, and my in real life relationships are more valuable than a keyboard or a book that I may again some day write.

People – This isn’t about time and balance and priorities.  … It is about silver and gold.  About pond water and rich well water.   Start searching for wisdom and all the things you canst desire are not to be compared to wisdom.

“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom and the man that getteth understanding. Her ways are of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.”  Proverbs 3:13, 17-18

Be More Beautiful Than A Silver Tongue

Silver Tongue - Allume(photo credit) 

Motherhood resonates beauty in this part of the writing on-line world on Mondays.  Allume living happens in your every day walk and talk, and radiates the light when we come together in our words.  The overflow.

There are not many areas of our lives that we can gloss over with a pretty coat of white wash and hope they look good for everyone to see.  In this house, if I am having a bad day, then everyone here knows it.  If I am rash, and impatient, you might not know that with the words that I pen.

When you write in many places, your pen and your words might be like a silver tongue – expressing yourself readily, clearly, effectively; “able to dazzle with a facile tongue”; “silver speech”….

It is a beautiful thing when the lessons of life and motherhood prepare you for the writing world.

Consider the Three Graces of Motherhood and Life that lead us –  to Be More Beautiful Than a Silver Tongue:

 

– Be Your Children’s Advocate

( This means they trust you enough to come to you)  How often do you read another post and don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment?  When you write, are you trustworthy to handle the hearts of others?

Although I fall weary many nights from the exhausting effects of what I call “counseling sessions” with  my children after what seems like taffy-pulls of the heart, I go to bed with peace knowing that they can see my life is an open book and a learning curve of God’s forgiveness and that my reaction to their hurts, poor choices and actions will not bring a wrath or judgement, but a trusted heart.  Listening and Grace.  My words would not be savvy or eloquent – but heart wrenching and seasoned with God’s word.

-Don’t Take “It” So Personally

(This means that the attitudes and words that hurt – are not “meant” for you)  This is hard to wrap the brain around.  How often do you receive comments on your sites and writing, that seem to sting and cause your heart to stop in its tracks?  When you write, do you seek to edify or to encourage?

One thing I have learned in my mom walk, is that there is always a “deeper issue” going on in the heart of the child that aims a hurtful comment or an attitude that seems mis-directed.  I have learned not to take everything so personally.

-Learn From The Hardest Mom Moments

( Motherhood stretches me.  Stretches me in areas I never thought I could move, bend or get past)  Writing is like that. We may feel void of words, unsure of where our writing is taking us, and sometimes, the not too comfortable places.  Our words may be hard to write, hard to live, and may never reach the paper.

The most valuable lessons in my life I have learned from the hardest moments in motherhood.  Growing me and stretching me to become a better mom ( writer), focusing on what is really important, and allowing the overflow of my hardest moments to write the words that will change and influence the hearts of my children. ( my readers).

It is my prayer to be more beautiful than a silver tongue.

How is motherhood/life preparing you to be like gold in your words and actions in the writing world?

September @ OneSeptemberDay

Sometimes We Stumble

road

Her eyes would not connect with mine, and I knew it was serious.  This place of struggle was not foreign to me.

Life’s demands had caused me to sacrifice my testimony and justify my attitudes of frustration and anger at many moments in my life…more so as a wife and mother.   My precious daughter was now caught in the crevice of worry and frustration over her own choices.  When will I get this right mom?

I knew that this would be the pivotal moment of truth in her life.  When she can see deep within her soul, the need to hold onto the secret to the Christian life.  To yield our emotions, our lives and our thoughts – to Him.

A supernatural response – where the invisible faith we build on each day, becomes visible and tangent.  Real.

Because, sometimes we stumble, but He keeps us moving. And that is the gift of the invisible.

We cannot live this life in our own strength.  There are so many moments as a Christian, a light-bearer, a mother, wife, writer and friend, that I feel my light being snuffed out dim by a weariness of the little things in life that too much time is spent on worrying about.  Trivial discussions about matters that aren’t important to Jesus, negative relationships, or a competitive spirit within the on-line world.  It is a waste and it causes me to sometimes stumble in my thoughts and time.

And now, I rub her back, and speak His words into her, proclaiming the truth that life will give us demands, and our reactions will reflect how our faith has been doing a great work in us.  An active and living faith, that will change our lives and our perspectives.

Now the pools of tears in her green eyes are overflowing and asking me, “Mom, when will I stop stumbling?”  Oh, my dearest child – When you see Jesus face to face.  In His fullness are we made complete.  Until that day we abide in Him, and know that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.

And this is how the stumble makes our feet more straight and our paths more clear.  By faith.

Every trial and every day that we live in our own strength will reap an empty faith tank. No source to draw on down the road.

For God had a beautiful gift wrapped in an ugly package for me this week.  Only He would orchestrate such a finite happening.

A conflict.  At the end of a long weekend, and a time-consuming conversation with another person, I was left bewildered at my lack of frustration, anger, dismay and found myself in awe at what God had just given me.  While laying in bed, talking to God, I saw it – the well of faith, the praying through the years at the sound or site of conflict – had brought me peace this very night.  I felt as if I had picked it up, and gently ( not forcefully) handed it back to God.  Able to sleep, not anxious about what someone thought of me,  or what the outcome might be.  Where did this supernatural reaction come from?

Many years of stumbling through this area in my life and continually giving it back to God, begging Him to make it right, with worry and fretting and frustration.  And now the gift of reaping – not reacting, or feeling the need to “be right.”  It was a habit of trust, and control of the spirit.  And now, I knew peace.

Whether I am in a trial, tired and weary, or stumbling through this sinful nature each day, I know when I walk by the spirit, I will not carry out the works of my flesh. Galatians 5:16

Sometimes we will stumble – our faith will be shaken and tested.  What will you cling to?
 The Vine or the branches?

Written by September @ One September Day

The Return on Your Empty

4418910210_1d355fa6c9_z(photo credit)

Emotionally draining and physically spent would best describe my last two weeks.  The wave of relief I have when my head rests on my pillow at night cannot fully describe how empty I feel by the end of each day.

Some days I am spent.  There might not be one creative or inspiring muscle left in my body or brain to formulate a post for my blog, or a chapter in my new book.

The energy has been spent in other areas, and my writing is left calling my name  – with what seems to be no return.

When a call to write still resounds in my heart and I wake up to God-inspired thoughts to share, I know that this is a season of investment in other areas of my life.  It is not permanent.

And this is what God has proven so faithful to show me – There is a Return on our Empty.

“I am so empty and I have nothing left to give.”  A conversation with my husband this week.  His reply : “There is a community of lives you are investing in right here and your return will be in so many ways you may never see.”

Investment in people, lives, children, homeschooling and more is building relationships that build upon one another.  Calling upon one another because of the spark of investment that  I initiated or tying relationships together to build a better and stronger Kingdom work.

There are so many days that you might feel empty.  Completely drained of ambition, energy and creativity to write or invest in ONE more person, blog or relationship.

I am going to share what I now see God doing when I am empty – void of even the ounce of strength to smile or stand it seems.

He empties myself of me, and the places I have been filling with HIM overflow into other’s lives.  He uses my weakness for His glory while I cannot move more in my own strength.

While you are sitting with a friend at the hospital and her husband has little time on this earth  – you are empty, but you know you need to be there.  Just BE there.  Words do not always wax eloquent.  God fills in the gaps.

When you are hosting 50 people in your home for a homeschooling meeting and your little ones tug at your leg and want to be held, and a new momma is in tears with her struggle to stay sane at home with babies – Let God speak HIS words and let your empty vessel full of weakness BE His glory.

While you have writing deadlines, and blog submissions due, and your little ones are up all night with croup, your husband waits for you to spend time with him, and your blog sits empty…. invest in prayer for your blogging friends, write their names on your list and let your empty be your story. 

His power does NOT need our words.  This community should be a return on our empty.  His inspiration, His power and His community for the Kingdom work.  

I am empty, and I am humbly asking for added measures of strength as I have invested all that I have today into others.

But He is always on the throne and never left, and the return of our investments will be far greater than something done here and in our words.

When you are empty and beyond an ability to invest or create, do you feel the discouragement and weight of uselessness settle in?

Be filled with His strength and invest with promptings and leading.  It will never return void.

Written by September @ One September Day

Give Them A Clue

We gather in this spot daily, weekly and once a year – for a cross generational community of women to encourage and inspire Real Light Living.  

Have you had any one ask you what Allume is and what Real Light Living means?  I have.  They ask me to just give them a clue.  Just a glimpse into this call on our schedules, our hearts and lives – that pulls us to this one place:  Together.

If you had to describe this community, the conference, the meaning of Real Light Living…could others  SEE it, rather than be told?

Is a glimpse into our lives enough to show other’s what Real Light Living is all about?

May I encourage you, the women who stop by here, to pull up your chair and get comfy while you read this post.  Let the words sink into your skin and inspire each you..each one of us..to model this LIGHT wherever we go, and with whatever we do.

While raising our family, we chose a “tag line,” we have referred to through the years as we bring our focus back to what is really important.  “Life is for service.”  In a nutshell – Let your line shine before men.

There are 276 days left before we meet together again and convene as women who aspire to Real Light Living.
 Wouldn’t the Lord be well pleased with over 400 women gathering together to share their stories of change, growth, and how their light could be seen like a city on a hill – so that other’s could see the light and it made a difference in the Kingdom work?

Grab your notebooks, net books, and let’s begin.  The days are ticking …

-Make service a priority in daily living

-Learn how to handle conflict Biblicaly

-Begin intentional, joyful living at home

-Write truth and not false allusions

-Share in the good news of others with words of affirmation

-Model forgiveness

-Re-direct your success and accomplishments to God, and not ourselves

-Write and write more – Letters of encouragement

-Make and Take meals to those around you

-Encourage a mom with a helping hand

-Shower your family with Grace

-Show grace in your relationships

-Learn to see beneath the surface of those you mayhave before judged

-Show Joy in your life and not martyrdom

-Invest into genuine relationships

-Think beyond your walls and computer screen

-Love those that may seem “un-lovable” to you

-Allow your on-line presence to radiate His presence in your life

-Look up and beyond those you normally speak with, there is someone else going unnoticed

 Keep your list going.  Living in the Light is not about our works, but about a transformation of our daily living, that we may reflect His light in our spheres of influence.

That others may see this place and proclaim the glory of His Name and His amazing work in our lives and others.

Let’s give the world a clue – Allume!

 

Because Life is for Service, September @ One September Day

 

Why Would You Do That?

There are a lot of times that I am asked some serious thought-provoking questions.  Women searching for answers that I myself am still discovering golden nuggets of truth about.

I don’t claim to know everything about blogging. One might think that I have the “handle” on motherhood, and truly, I am still pressing towards the mark for the prize of the High calling in Jesus.  

But I am open to wisdom and leading. 

When I came home from Allume with my daughter  by my side, I again realized that God always teaches me in the quiet.

May I share what happens when we abide and let the fog clear just a little bit?

Coming “down” from Christmas might be just the time to read this post and ponder.

I took my daughter to Allume this year.  I have been before, but this year was different for me.  I had just finished writing an e-book, and had found myself in a place called – tired.

I was ready for this time away.  Would you be surprised to know that I only attended two workshops this year at the conference?  I know all of the speakers, and truly would recommend always taking advantage of hearing and seeking the wisdom from any workshops you can attend.  

But, this year, I sought peace.    Peace in the blogging world, quiet in my world and heart, and this is what God did for me.

I begged Him for light.  Not for me to BE the light, but to BRING me light.  It was there, I just couldn’t see it.

Life gets foggy, and our vision becomes clouded with ideals, and expectations.  I let the fog roll away.

I spent hours in the Prayer Room.  I would meet new women each day at meals, and seek their journals to write and pray for them.

Why would you do that September?  Why would you spend money and time for a conference, and not take advantage of the whole experience?

I am asked a lot of questions.  Questions about motherhood, parenting, marriage, etc.. but the only real wisdom I could ever give you – would be this:

Abide.  Listen and follow.  In all of those areas and the rest of your life.  Choose wisely by knowing you have given the right time to the right things.

Allume for me was the most beautiful time with my daughter.  Seeing her as a fun-spirited woman, and giving me a new and fresh perspective.

I learned to look in the eyes of the blogger handing me her card, and love her for the beautiful creation God set in this place. And now, I am rotating your cards by taping a new one to the corner of my computer each week.  I am praying for you, with your picture and your site to remind me of your life and His work in you.

Allume to me is and always will be about life, His Light and a little about blogging.   

I came home from Allume, and took my first blogging break in four years.  I have not written one new post, and my “followers” have jumped by 400.  Where does that come from and how?  I have no idea, but, I can truly say, that I have seen His Direction, by waiting and listening.

Listening cannot come from busy.  Following cannot come from running ahead. 

What would I do that?  A question that I hear so often – and my answer is always this – Because He told me to.

Written by September, at One September Day

 

The Secret Is Out

It has been in plain sight for so long, is it a wonder that we are sometimes so slow to grasp it?

 

We live in a warp-speed world, with a screen and a key-board as a means to communicate our words, our ways, and relationships.

What is the secret to Good Writing?

I walked away from Allume with a permanent imprint on my heart and mind from one “small” quote.  Ann Voskamp said, ” The secret to good writing is living in secret.”

 The words we leave in the “wired world,” may be there for a season, or perhaps published into pages of life-changing books. The life we live daily will span into generations with a forever impact.

Think on this with me friend – Your writing is only as credible as your life.

From the day I arrived home from Allume, this portion of Scripture has pressed in on my heart like a vice.  Scripture that we have memorized and recited as a family.  Many times.

Here, you will read, what I believe, is the secret to writing.  In plain sight.

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him..

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Today, and every day that we write, we should be asking ourselves – “If I were to meet my readers face to face, would my words equal to my life?”

Improving our writing style and fine-tuning our words are necessary. Striving for numbers, and credibility may be more alluring, but the every day salt is what will make our words sink deep into another life.  Because they will MEAN something.

Live life credibly- not as you are being judged, but as the words you write can live up to your life.

Living life in the Light – Allume – is not about standing ovations, but the words we hard-wire into our souls.  Every day.

The secret to our good writing can be the overflow.  Credible from obedient living.

Do you find your voice behind words, and is your life speaking loud and clear?

September from One September Day

 

Tucked Safely In

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Worn so thin, the sheets remind me of my frazzled state of mind and this beautifully long day.  It is the start to a new weekend, and the moment I cherish at each new sunset.  I tuck the sheets close under their little chin, rub their soft wispy hair to the side, and I sigh – Knowing they are Tucked Safely In.

There are nights that I will sing softly, and after kissing their sweet cheeks, I feel the rise of their chest begin to slow, I will tread softly out of their room.  Tucked Safely In.

Weekends are like this.  I feel safe in the haven of my family – away from the on-line world, and dead-lines.  My blog rests quietly in that special place, and some will visit and read, leave comments and browse.  It is not calling my name, nor is it needing my immediate attention.  My writing has a haven, and it is – Tucked Safely In.

Motherhood can often be a vigil.  Like a night watch, with no-reprieve, yet blessings will be tucked safely in through the long night hours.  There is a purposeful period of devotion that requires steadfastness, and perseverance.  Time does not wait for us to figure out what we will do next.

 Life hands us new opportunities every minute to be tried and true.  The dinner hour, homework, reading time, or football practice, or perhaps the new virus passing through, will not wait for us to figure out what comes first.  So when do we lay our head down?

This.   I Am Tucked Safely In.  In His bosom.  In His Care.  In His Plan.  In the shelter of His wing.  In the fold of His arm.  In His resting place.

And all of this?  All of that?  It is in His care also.

While we share this weekend together here my friends – Will you Abide in Him?  Let the cares of the world go?  Put your writing aside, and fall on Him?

Whether you are in the throes of motherhood, or walking another road that is pulling you thin – Can you just take this day, this moment – to set it ALL down?

 Be Tucked Safely In?  Yes?

Oh, how His embrace is so full and free.  Go there.  This weekend and be Tucked Safely In.  

By September, One September Day

I Don’t “Do Pretend”

 

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I am tired.  I am a busy mom, a frazzled wife, and a delinquint blogger.

It seems as if I am overwhelmed with life today.  The whole month of August has seemed to be a little much.  Life doesn’t stop moving for me to take a break, and certainly doesn’t afford me the luxury of taking time off.

I am sure some of you are feeling the same way right now.  School supplies, new schedules, meal planning, deadlines, and  jobs adjustments can keep us feeling like we are skimming through life, and not even touching on what is really important in a day.

There is no room for pretending. 

I…do….not….have…it…all….together.

Women who gather at Allume are real. 

They have dirty dishes in their sink every night, clothes in the washing machine, jobs to attend to, and responsibilities outside of the blogging world.  They fight sickness, discouragement, and never have the right thing to wear.   We live real lives of hard work, play and nitty-gritty details.

As a veteran attendee of Allume, I am asked a lot of questions from those that are planning to go for the first time.  The most common concern and question that surfaces is – “I am not really any one special in the blogging world, and so how will all of “those women,” feel about me?

I don’t “do pretend.”   And neither do the women who attend Allume. 

You may be overwhelmed with life today.  Perhaps you are trying to figure out how to blog and live a balanced life?

This is what I have to keep reminding myself:

-My life is defined by Christ.  Not by what I do, where I live, who knows me, or how many followers I may have.

-Christ makes me complete.  Period.  Motherhood is my exclamation point, and writing (blogging) is a comma, the pause in my life – like a break in a sentence.  At just the right time, giving room for a breath, and making the sentence complete. 

-When I elevate my “need” to write or blog, or expect greater things from the blogging world than my life has room for, it becomes more of a question.

-What should I write about?  Rather than allowing inspiration to pen my words.

-When will  I find time to fit in a post, or a link-up?  Rather than it being my reprieve or a rewarding break.

-Wondering why other bloggers seem to have it all together.  The need to compare versus being complete.

Let’s be real.  Finding time to blog is a sacrifice.

Blogging is beautiful – expressions from the overflow of our lives. But, it doesn’t need to define you.  It is not your exclamation point.

 Or IS it?

Living IN the Light requires me to stay focused on the Lord first.  The more we know God, the more others know of Him –  through us.  Real….Life….Blogging.  When I am drawn in to a new blog, it is always because there is no pretense, but a genuine need for Christ and community.

Allume in October will bring you Real Life Bloggers….some armed with lap tops, some with diaper bags, and some with both. Excitement to attend should not be deterred with a fear of being less than another blogger, or not knowing any one “special.”

Will you be there this October?  Let’s “get real” today –  I would love to meet you!

Oh, please share your story with me.  I would love to introduce you to everyone. 

On Bent Knees… With Tightly Clenched Fists

 

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It was 16 years ago yesterday, I fell with bent knees in grief.   My heart had just begun to heal, and I am left wondering if my heart will ever heal again.

It was raining, and I could barely stand under the tent that sheltered the open space I would have to leave my babies.  I was moved by the music of healing – “It is well with my soul.”   I had always believed this.  But this day, I truly doubted my soul would “be well again.”

The days to follow left me in a place of anger, confusion, healing and on bent knee – with tightly clenched fists.

Last night I stood in this place again.  The tent was gone.  The tears were still fresh, and the ashes were traded for beauty.

Beauty in surrender. Willing surrender.

I know you have been in this place.  Trials leave a mark in all of our lives.  They just look different for all of us.  For you, it may be an illness, a recent loss, friendships, your profession, an empty space never filled,  marriage or motherhood.

Perhaps you are hoping the problems or pain will just disappear.   Have you shut your heart out to change?

Transformation comes through surrender.

God has such a perfect plan for the trials in our lives.  When we hang onto the pain, heart-ache, sadness and anger  – our lives will be like the stalwart tree that refuses to lose its leaves in the fall.  Independent, clinging to the very last bit of the pain, unyielding.

Never bearing intended fruit.  My knees bent daily – beginning with heart-ache and pain. I kept hearing – “Pursue me.”  And I did.

My fists stayed clenched for so long. Afraid of more pain perhaps?  Not willing to let the loss of my babies lives be thought of as something beautiful.  How could that be?

Little by little, as I fell in grief and cried out to the Lord, my words became a conversation with my Heavenly Father.  A conversation that turned into praise.  My tightly clenched fists were now hands held high to the Heaven’s – Arms stretched out high – Palms wide open.

I was being made new. His strength was made perfect in my weakness.

Can you let go today of the very things that are holding you back from a true intimacy with the Savior?

Perhaps little daily habits of despair, confusion, discontentment, or loss have transformed into big habits. Holding tight to pain.

There is beauty in surrender.  The day I said goodbye to the lives I carried in my womb, and walked away from that tent, my heart would have never believed I could find beauty in His purpose.

Sixteen years later, and many children running at the feet of Jesus, with worship and praise – I thank Him for transforming me – On bent knees and Open arms.

You would never know the pain this heart has had to bear, when meeting me and the joy that fills my heart and floods my smile.  But the marks of growth and grace, flood the words my heart will speak to you.  The pain that bore fruit.  It was slow, hard, and daily surrender.

And it is all good.

There is Life in the Light.   Allume – Living.

Do you believe this?  I understand if you are not able to fully embrace this right now.  Our journeys are all different.

But, I do believe that we can walk them together.  Can I walk beside you today?  And join you on bent knees?

Can You Hear The Whisper?

 

I stood by her bedside.. while she prepared to take her last breath. I almost didn’t come here.

I haven’t seen my friend in a few years. There was a day when we would get-together. I would share Christ with her, and listen to her struggles –while waiting for her to follow the way of Christ – to bear her burdens. We would talk about her doubt in the existence of God. She was a dear friend…and always so full of life. She has red hair, and the spunk to match.

And then… she moved away. I didn’t see her for a time.

Now, I am torn – I have heard that in the short time we lost touch, that she was diagnosed with cancer. She was dying. I had no idea. I would have been there for her. But now, someone tells me that she is home..waiting. She has children, and a husband. I have fears, and wonder if I should go to her home during these last days.

I pray and know I must go. I hold her hand and talk. Her eyes are closed and I can tell she is listening. I pray over her- and she turns her head towards my face. Eyes closed. I begin to cry.

I pause. Holding her hand in the quiet. Her new husband is watching me. I have never met him. I am sure he must think I am a stranger… but he begins to say – “ Are you the friend that she has spoken to me about – the friend that always shared Christ with her, and encouraged her when life was so hard?” He spoke of more specifics, and then he said..” I have to tell you something that she would want you to know….”

“She came to know Christ as her personal Saviour last year, and knew that you would rejoice with her.” “She boldly proclaimed her faith to as many as she could before her cancer claimed her health.” “She has been waiting for you to come.”

My dear, dear friend was going to see Jesus. She listened to His call.

I cried all the way home. She passed into eternity a few hours after I held her hand, and cried over her life.

What if I had never followed the Spirits call to GO. I would have never known that she had given her life to Christ.

I listened – and was led to act.

Do you ever hear the Spirits promptings to encourage another person?

Perhaps you have had a name of a dear brother or sister in Christ come to your heart and mind during the day or night? What we do with those promptings –matters for Christ’s Kingdom. Do you follow through with the whispers of those that might need your voice in their life today?

We are called to be Obedient in so many areas. Listening, and following the lead to pray, speak, or act on another’s pain, burdens or needs, will bless in ways immeasurable. We are One Body – Carrying the burdens of other’s to the Lord, with words of encouragement, acts of service, or unconditional love. The Spirit will complete a work – in and through us.

Encouragement is a calling. Listen to the call, and be obedient. Don’t let His promptings fall on a deaf ear.

The compassion of words, cards, a simple message of hope resonates deep within the spirit.

Imagine the potential of this community if every woman here followed sincere promptings to pray on the behalf of another daily.

I have learned to be still, and hear the spirits calling. Will you join me in this beautiful community, of looking beyond ourselves, to the hearts of others?

Blessed be the tie that binds, our hearts in Christian love.

Can you hear the whisper? Be still. And then follow.

Don’t miss the blessings – They are at every turn.