Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On the Road to ACFW

This picture was taken on our trip to Ireland this year. It's a lane on the grounds of Muckross House. Isn't it beautiful?! We were there early in the morning and it was a little chilly, but gorgeous. We looked down the lane and saw people walking at various paces and in different places along that road. Everyone enjoying a different part of the scenery - a different view. 

This week is like that a little bit. Today I'm driving to Dallas to attend the ACFW writer's conference. There are quite a few of us who will be attending for the first time. There are also those who have attend every year since the beginning. 

There will be newbie's like me and multi-published, award-winning authors (like me in my really good fantasies!) all mixing and mingling and sharing the journey. It's awe inspiring. 

I want to savor ever part of it and I want to be very careful that I don't miss a single bit of my unique journey because I'm too busy concentrating on someone else's view. 

God has done an amazing work to bring me to this place. I don't have a clue what's next on His agenda but I want to be looking for it and prayed up for it and really ready. 

When God begins to work with your dreams it probably means letting go of and stepping out of your comfort zones. I know I am. It's also exciting enough that you don't really want to go back to that safe place. Most of the time. 

I know that God has a unique journey for you. Have you figured out what it is yet? Are you willing to step out and be obedient and vulnerable? I think it will be worth it and I hope to have some amazing stories to share with you soon. 

Please share yours with me. Let's encourage one another as we pray for each other. 

Following the plan, 


Monday, September 17, 2012

ACFW Conference Starts this Week

Do you remember when you were little and used to play dress up and day dream about being someone really cool? 

Then you grow up and get a job and get busy with life and somehow your dreams take a back seat to all of the "grown-up" responsibilities...

Then one day God takes that little spark of a dream that's been dormant for years and begins to fan it into a flame. It burns so bright and hot that you can't ignore it. He opens doors and provides opportunities, and along the way he gives you people who surprisingly do not laugh at your dreams but instead share your excitement. 

He finds gentle ways to give you perspective when you get too big for your britches and - 

He gives you loving people to encourage you when you think you really stink. 

He sends reminders that while it is our dream it's His plan. He will do what He will do in His time, not yours. 

He will not let us forget that while we pursue our dream we must take time to be still with him and to help others. 

He lets us know that while we may never be the best at what we do and may never be successful by the world's standards He is the Master of turning too little into great abundance. 

This week I will attend the ACFW conference with 700+ friends I don't know yet. We will all be there because we have a dream to write, but no matter what our skill level, it means nothing unless we have handed it over to Him to bless it, break it and use it to feed a world hungry to hear about Jesus. 

Please pray for us this week. We are expecting God to do some wonderful, totally unexpected things in and through us. I can't wait to share with you when I get back. 

Following the plan all the way to Dallas, 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Inspired by the Courage of Others

According to my countdown clock I will be leaving for Dallas and the ACFW Conference in 6 days. I've been excited - up until about 8 weeks ago. Then the nerves set in and I've bounced between serenity and terror ever since. I've had a myriad of thoughts:

  • what will I wear?
  • where will I sit at dinner?
  • I don't know ANYONE!
  • I'm not a very social person - what if I can't stand the crowds?
  • what if I say something stupid?  
  • what if I forget my pitch?
  • what if no one likes my book?
  • what if someone likes my book?
  • what if I fall off the risers when the choir is singing?
  • what if I sing at the wrong time and everyone hears me?
  • I think my business cards are cute; will everyone else think so?
  • what if I make a fool of myself?
  • I'm ready!
  • I'll never be ready!
  • this is really good. 
  • this stinks!
I'm a coward. Yep. I am. 

I've been thinking about chasing dreams lately and it seems that I've watched more than a few video clips of shows like The X Factor and America's Got Talent, etc. I've seen people of all ages and backgrounds exhibit grace under pressure, rein in the fear, step out on stage and pour out their hearts in the most amazing voices! There was no guarantee that they would win or even hear anything positive and encouraging from the judges but they did it anyway. They believed in themselves enough and wanted that dream badly enough to accept the risk of rejection and say "I want to be a singer!"

That's in the secular world.

I'm going to a conference of Christian writers. More than anything else done to prepare for this conference people have been praying. They understand that the dream of writing is for many of us a fulfillment of a calling and a way to allow God to touch the world through us. Yes it is a time to learn, to listen, to share, to encourage and help others. More than anything else, however, it is a time to worship at the throne of the One who has called each of us and it's a time to lay down our own agenda's, be still, and know that He is God. 

When I keep this focus the fear recedes and I can look forward with great anticipation to meeting God in new and amazing ways at this conference. I know part of my schedule - workshops, agent appointments, choir practices. It's the part I don't know yet that's so exciting. 

I believe God has some divine appointments for me that may have nothing at all to do with writing, and everything to do with connecting and relationship - with others and with Him. 

I'm praying for all of us who will attend. For our writing careers, what needs to happen will happen in God's perfect time. I pray that the entire weekend is simply one form of worship or another, and that more than anything else we see Jesus. 

If people without Jesus can show courage in pursuing their dreams, how much more can we as children of the King live and walk with purpose, courage and promise? 

Following the plan,


Tuesday, September 11, 2012