Deep Breath

I vowed this one would be different.

Last fall was just plain hard, adjusting from homeschool to a {huge} community college. From "a big fish in a little pond to a little fish in a big gargantuan, drown-possible pond." I remember on a couple of occasions stating that this word-lover detested, loathed, abhorred one word and one word only: stress.

"That word again. Stressed. Deep breath." - Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

I vowed this one would be different.

...That I would pressure myself less and see Him in the little things.

...That I would be more thankful. After all, there are passels of children around the world longing for an education like the one I'm privileged to receive - why not accept that it is a privilege?

...That I would live more open-handed and free. Cause surrender is freeing.

So I pray to unclench these tight fists that want it my way and my way only...

...that I might live with wide palms. For the strangers who need His poured-out love, for the friends who need a wordless hug, for the God who plops down gifts like raindrops.

So far it has been different. I have been overwhelmed, I have worried...but through it all I take deep breaths, trusting the One who has guided me to this place, who says this is His plan for me: to learn and embrace the struggle of semesters.

Of Tweeting and Blog Buttons

After hearing over and over at the She Speaks writers conference I attended that Twitter is a fabulous resource for writers...I finally decided to join.

So now I'm tweeting!

Also, after having my blog header beautifully redesigned, Julia pointed me to this tutorial which helped me create the button. Would you like to add my button to your blog?



Once there was a girl
who fell in love with words. She poured over every crusty old tome and slick new paperback she could find. She delighted in the way words slipped into her mind and worked their way into her heart. A simple joy in the power of story burst into a profusion of beauty deep in her soul.

Once there was a girl
who picked up her pen and found adventure there. By scratching pen across paper, the feats of knights in shining armor, the swashbuckling escapades of lady-pirates, and the struggles of faith were unleashed. The friends she didn't know she had found freedom in the simple stories she scribbled in spare moments.

Once there was a girl
who grew afraid of this passion inside of her for the written word. She listened to lies, she hid in the dark, and she stuffed her dream inside.

Once there was a girl
who found healing in the Savior's promise. Trembling and teary-eyed, she entrusted to Him her broken heart and watched Him work a miracle. He gave her meaning and purpose. He took her loneliness and befriended her. He slashed through all her fears. He wooed her with a love that is beyond fathoming. And He taught her that His timing is perfect.

Once there was a girl 
who decided to dare to dream, all because of the God who called her and made her courageous. She writes now, not only out of the deep love she holds for the craft but out of the yearning to know Him more with every word.

Once there was a girl...

The Destiny of One by Sarah Holman

I recently had the privilige to announce the upcoming release of my friend Sarah Holman's first book, The Destiny of One. From the day she first told me about this science fiction novel, I was hooked. 

The book trailer took my breath away (really, watch it).

Then I read it.

It was amazing. I was drawn into Maria's story from page one and the out-of-this-world plot kept me turning the pages. The ending is really a new beginning, as Maria's story has yet to be told in its entirety. I sat back after having finished it with a sigh. This is a awesome book. 

More than her unique writing style, more than the beautiful cover, more than the stellar story and white-knuckled grip you will have on the pages as you flip them to see what's happening next... the message.

"My prayer is that, through reading this story, you will be encouraged and know that God has not abandoned you. He knows the plans He has for you, plans that He made before the world was formed...He knows where He is taking us; we don't have to know the destination; we just have to embrace the journey."

~Sarah Holman, The Destiny of One, Afterword

Disclosure: I received this book from the author. This post contains affiliate links. To read my full disclosure, please click here.

Counting the Gifts

I heard her speak on Saturday. As I write this, I realize that one week has passed already.

Yet her words stick with me still.

I leaned forward in anticipation as I had been doing all day, all weekend long. Leaning forward to soak in the knowledge like a sponge, as someone had prayed that I would. Leaning forward because I had read her words, her heart, and knew.

Knew He would touch me through her.

And I was right.

As I flicked my gaze between the close-up screen and the live view of her standing on the stage, I listened to her dare to live "open-handed" rather than in fear "the notion that God's love ends" or that "His goodness is going to run out."

Because it will never run out.

"When we are in Christ, what can end?"

And because it will never end, keeping a record seems even more beautiful, even more lovely. Goodbyes are so hard, but I will never need to say goodbye to His why do it? Why let it slip through my fingers, let my brain cells whisper goodbye without my even realizing it? Why, when I could keep a record of His faithfulness, of His grace?

So I will.

"Open-handed living is the only way to take God's hand." ~ Ann Voskamp

"For I am the Lord who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13

I will live open-handed. And I will clench my fists at times, closed to His grace, to His gifts. Then I will open them again. It will probably be a continuing cycle and a hard one. But a better one than saying goodbye and not remembering tomorrow what He has done today.

I dare to live thankful.

"We were made for this," she said. "To give Him thanks, to give Him glory."

Have you ever had your heart jump in yes?

"The good God is everywhere and provides in everything with love." ~ Maximilian Colbi

Will you dare to join me in counting to 1000 with the many who have already begun? Join the Gratitude Community.