"I am guiding you on the way of wisdom and I am leading you on the right path." Proverbs 4:11

Category: training (page 2 of 2)

food for thinking on



God created us to live with a single passion to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.

-John Piper

Composition|reflections from my time at The Writer’s Barn

i arrive earlier than i’d like to; my preference when attending something alone is to arrive not early, not late, but in the middle.  i don’t like having all the seat options to choose from-i am aware of the way picking a seat has the potential to paralyze me because i’m feeling a bit unsure of myself.  but i was told i could leave my insecurities behind and i remind myself of this as i sit down and breathe a prayer to the One who is in charge of Providential connections.

 i Release it

i sit there, a recipient of Myquillyn’s art.  personally i lack the skill and know nothing about the composition of a room.  but she does.  and her art creates a framework for what is becoming within my soul.

 i Receive it

the time together begins and Traci keeps us on schedule and informed about the important details.  personally i lack the skill and know nothing about the composition of the details surrounding an event.  and her art builds on that framework for what is becoming within my soul.

 i Rest secure in it

Emily Freeman and Christa Wells spend the beginning hours taking us through the craft of writing.  Principles and truths that i will chew on and apply for years to come i am sure. i am paying attention.  We are given a break for dinner and then we return for an evening of story and song.  i can’t even.  These hearts that are traversing the very land of writing-they are so generous in their sharing.

i Take it all in

this is the very thing i need.  i know nothing about the composition of notes that make up a song.  i do know there is a deep place within my soul where things are becoming.  and music-especially the piano-have always been a most effective way for that becoming to transpire.   i am learning about the composition of words, but before this event i didn’t fully understand the composition that makes up a writer.  the frustrations and tendencies and nuances of “doing homework for a living” as Emily so aptly put it.  These two beautiful women have placed their brushstrokes within the framework for what is becoming within my soul.

i am changed by it

Composition is the “State or quality of being put together, The art or practice of so combining the parts of a work of art as to produce a harmonious whole.”*  The Master Artist brought together each and every part necessary; all that i’ve mentioned above combined with the people i met, the hands that prepared the snacks, the families behind it all; He has so combined all the parts that became this Writer’s Barn….and produced a harmonious whole to be sure.

He created a Masterpiece

and i delighted in it.

(As you can see there are no pictures with this post.  i just couldn’t take any and i’m not completely sure why.  But you can go here and here to see some.)


(I will be joining the 31 days writing challenge hosted by The Nester.  unless something else comes to me before tomorrow prayer will be my topic.)

*Webster’s 1946 edition

treasure hunting


i lay there fighting for sleep.  (not to be confused with fighting sleep like a toddler does. no. i wanted sleep-sleep was fighting me)  finally i give up and get up at 1:30 in the morning.  the thought comes to me that prayer would be a good thing to do.  i laugh cynically; “i wish…”  i start talking about that with that One who never tires or grows weary.  i sit with Him and find myself redirected from the mind numbing reading (which i do believe has it’s place.) tonight in the darkness there are treasures to be mined for.  i don’t know this of course (see also: laughed cynically)  but my Master Gardner does.  Sara’s words* give me a push down into the mine shaft.  i cup open my hands to receive what might be described as rubies or sapphires, if only they were beautiful enough.  it is dark outside and dark in my soul, but He has promised…..

You promise treasures in the darkness and You are that treasure
-Sara Hagerty


He delivers on that promise as words come to mind…vaguely they come and i flip open those thin and well worn pages and hunt for them.  i take Sara’s advice* of carving out at least 200 words back to Him about these words of His;

Lift up your eyes and look at the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of His great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.
“do not be afraid, oh little worm, for I Myself will help you,” declares the Lord
Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
if i say; “surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to You;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.”


only Christ knows the depth of meaning these very words have personally and specifically …to me.  it’s a looking back on these recent years of walking in the dark in so many ways. it’s a remembering of what He told me about what was ahead-words i didn’t completely understand, nor do i now.  words that only gave me the next step to take, and i’ve been waiting ever since to hear His voice in that way again.  these are comforting words, encouraging words.  He takes them deeper still, the meaning becomes deeper still.  oh, this darkness may or may not lift.  but the hand holding on to mine?  it will remain constant whether i feel it or not.


sometimes my husband and i will be holding hands.  time passes and i grow accustomed to the feel of my hand in his.  but then there will be a slight squeeze-indicating a knowing, a loving, a depth of communication only we grasp.


tonight in the darkness, i feel my Shepherd’s squeeze.


to draw further in; Isaiah 40 beginning at verse 25; 41:13-14; 42:16, 45:18-19; 50:10-11; Psalm 139:11-12

*Taken from Sara Hagerty’s Adoration devotional available now free with a pre-order of her upcoming book: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet|Tasting the goodness of God in all things.  You can also learn more about Adoration via her blog.

breathing among the papyrus reeds

Then [Moses’ mother] placed the child among the papyrus reeds along the bank of the Nile.  His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe.  She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.   -exodus 2


at the last minute we decide to walk to school.  i place a ball cap on my head, grab my phone and off we go.  i decide that walking is nicer than driving and we talk more than when on the bike.  i walk him all the way to the playground give him a hug and off he bounds for another day of 4th grade.

i see a friend that i can’t recall ever seeing in the morning before school.  she looks at me and says;

i know why you are here.  God brought you here on purpose.  He knew exactly what i needed today.

on a fluke, she had walked around the building with her 4th grader too.

did you catch there what i did?  i called it a fluke.  but it was no fluke.


all the disciplines have been a fight lately.  i fight to pray.  i sit with my Bible in my lap and my eyes blur and the words are still and dead and stagnate.  so i talk with Him about it.  and i ask for help.  but day after day i find it the same.  one day last week the words became alive again and in my joy i shared it all here.  i thought maybe the dry season had ended and the rainy season had begun.  but the fight returned and it’s been more of the same.


we sip tea together and talk of the deep heart issues.  His Word springs forth and quenches as only It can. and i am left to marvel at the words that come and the Truths that we embrace together.  i share a little of this marveling especially in relation to how things have felt this summer.  and she says;

it’s because it’s in you.  His Word is in you.

i’m entering a different place of trust here….always another place of trust.

what she said is true in its way.  He has promised that just as the rain waters the earth, so do His Words that go out from His mouth, accomplishing what He intended.  He has also said that streams of living water will overflow from within those who are His.

But there is more.  i remember Joseph’s words;

and God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this place…

and i remember how Pharaoh’s daughter happened upon that little baby in the basket.  and i acknowledge that it is no less a miracle that my friend and i happened upon each other.  And what i so enjoy about the whole thing is that i didn’t have to have showered or dressed for the occasion.  i didn’t’ have to have any profound revelation.  i didn’t even have to know to show up.  i just had to be breathing.  all the rest?


was God surely coming to our very aid.

heading back to N. Carolina to spend time in a Barn

Last year i went to N. Carolina to attend an afternoon At The Barn

as a family we’d been impacted by a fire in 2011, another one in 2012, living in town 5 of us crammed into a 2 bedroom 800 sq ft house, and many battles for hope.

personally, i’d turned 40 and found myself walking blindly through a fog of decisions that included leaving a ministry i’d been a part of for 15 years, clueless as to where the Lord was taking my heart and my life but following step by step and clinging to Isaiah 42:16 and 50:10-11

in the middle of a flood, i pressed the button to reserve my ticket for The Barn Event.

on the plane i finished up the last chapters of Emily’s book; A Million Little Ways, and waited in anticipation for all that the Lord would do during this much needed weekend away. then there were no words for all that transpired between the airport and the actual event.  but i carved out a few anyway-The Lord, my Shepherd .

worn and weary i headed out on the road towards somewhere, NC and that glorious Barn.

IMG_1774 IMG_1770

and i began to breathe 


And for an afternoon i was refreshed, inspired, seen.  and i was so very glad i went.  

and i learned a thing or two about rest.  that rest not a place, rest is a Person.  yes He can use a place to draw me into deeper rest in Him-What Emily said about hope applies here too.  sometimes rest finds you on the Beach, while other times you have to dig for it among the bugs.


lately i’ve been growing in taking my writing more seriously.  by that i mean, actually telling people; “i’m writing”  i tried it out the other day at the vet’s when i got to see our actual vet whom i’ve known for years but rarely get.  the question came; “how have you been, what have you been doing?” and i updated him about the ages of my kids and then i said; “i’ve been writing.”  the vet was a safe place to try it out, it’s less risky because the odds of him actually asking to read anything is very slim.  

but the saying it out loud to someone else means i am giving it value.   


home alone, i was on Emily’s blog the other day and i saw the link to another barn event.  this time specifically for writers.  my heart skipped a beat and i payed attention.  i allowed myself to go there.  that meant clicking the link to the event and checking out the details.  then  looking around online at flights and hotels and what would it cost?  then seeing the cost and knowing it was not doable and sitting back in my chair and grieving.  then getting out the map and seeing what’s nearby. and then checking flights to nearby places.

it is cheap to fly to Atlanta.  i tuck the knowledge away

jeremy and the kids come home and there is all the telling about their time and i listen and we go about life.  amidst all the noise and moving about together, i mention it. softly and timidly, i mention it.  “there is another barn event, this time focused on writing.  it’s in Midland, 4 hours from Atlanta.”  

and he listens.

and sits down and pulls out his phone (because, the calendar).  this summer things shifted for him at work and he’s been traveling every month. to Atlanta.

“when is it?”
“i think that’s when my next Atlanta trip is…..yep it is.”
“i think you should do it. go ahead and buy the ticket and then we will work out all the details.”

i hesitate a bit.  then move toward the idea.  we talk about taking a weekend away together.  he mentions the places he’s been that we can now see together.  he doesn’t mind me spending part of our time at a writing event.  even though he’ll be dropping me off 4 hours from our hotel?  he says he’ll be fine finding something to do.  i’ll return home on Monday, and he’ll stay behind for work.

i buy the ticket. 

This time, i’m not necessarily going for rest (tho i’ll take it whenever it comes!)

no, this time, i’m going to Atlanta for the romance. 

and to the Barn Event?  i’m going for my heart. 

how long, O Lord, how long



Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” And Joseph made the sons of Israel swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.” So Joseph died at the age of a hundred and ten. And after they embalmed him, he was placed in a coffin in Egypt.

Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died.

Then a new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become much too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them……
so they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor.

But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land….

But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land……

The King of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, when you help the Hebrew women in childbirth….if it is a boy, kill him, but if it is a girl, let her live.
but they wouldn’t do it. so Pharaoh gave this order to all his people:
“Every boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.”

But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land…..

Moses life is spared, and he is taken to live in the palace.

and if i were living then, maybe even if i were Moses’ mother, this would have been my plea for oh so many years;

Oh Lord, the God who avenges,
O God who avenges, shine forth.
Rise up, O Judge of the earth;
pay back to the proud what they deserve.
How long will the wicked,
O Lord,
how long will the wicked be jubilant?

They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers are full of boasting.
They crush Your people, O Lord
they oppress Your inheritance.
They slay the widow and the alien;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob pays no heed.”


But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land….

Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.  At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath.  He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”


“Unless the LORD had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When i said, “My foot is slipping,
your love O LORD, held me up.
In the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me,
Your comforts cheer and delight my soul.”


“Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
For the Lord is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
In His hand are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is His, for He made it,
and His hands formed the dry land.

Come let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
the flock under His care.


i don’t know where you are this day. but i am so very well aware of the oppression at all sides on this great land we traverse. i have been crying out with the Psalmist these days; “How long, oh Lord, how long?”

has this been your plea? are you personally in need of aid, just as much as it seems every entire nation is?

take heart, dear one

for God will surely come to your aid.

to draw deeper in;
Genesis 41:41-49; Genesis 50:22-26; Exodus 1, 12, 13; Psalm 6; Psalm 94 and 95; a search on the phrase; “How Long” in your Bible.

An Unexpected Journey-headed north


hope has been restored and that is a big thing.

We’ve left the Dear Ones in the South that i come from, and head to the North to Dear Ones on the other side.

We’ve traveled from the heat of the desert to the cool of the mountains.  i’m physically fatigued-but spiritually restored and that makes all the difference.  still, i’ve caught the older one’s sickness.

because, of course.


the choice is presented for a 6 mile hike and really it’s foolish to even consider. this cold, or flu, or whatever it is, carries with it a cough and shortness of breath as it is.   but-we’re at a family reunion-and we’re in S. Dakota.  and there are all the people.  and i just think that it seems we are sick every time we travel and so i could stay in bed and rest to get better or i could go and do things i can’t do at home with people i very rarely see.

so i go.


and since i have one son who can run a mile in 7 minutes and it takes just the glimpse of where we are going for him to loose awareness of anything else but that-he starts hiking.  Jeremy,  working to keep up with him, calls back to me and my youngest that he’ll keep track of this one if i keep track of that one.  it makes sense, i’m sick and the one with me is our slow and steady one.  but …. in the haste we forget that Jeremy is carrying all of our water and food.


and i wonder if i will make it.







it is glorious. and so worth it.


of course when i get back to camp i limp over to our camper and crash.  and now it is plainly obvious to everyone that i am sick and getting sicker.  and there are a few naysayers who call my choice the foolishness that it is.  the words don’t stick.  a day without regrets has been redefined.

An Unexpected Journey-headed south

mimi colorado

the heat of the sun soaks into the broken van.  stuck there at exit 49 along the Colorado River and the kids aren’t quite sure what to think or say-so they sit there with big eyes and quick obedience.  i cry and pray that the tears will stop once the phone does find a signal and i am required to communicate clearly where we are and what we need.  i drain the car battery trying to keep the dying phone alive.  my phone’s charge lasts long enough to connect with roadside assistance, and there is nothing left to connect with my husband who is all the way back home.

Howard the tow-truck driver is on his way.  the kids help me pack up the car and get ready.  i tear my favorite pants on the guard-rail.  i answer their questions as best i can; -the tow truck is coming-he will get us to the nearest city.  some Dear Ones –who were adventuring themselves and aren’t too far away-are coming to help too.

after dumping the van-Howard drops us off at a dairy queen to await our coming help.  i breathe deep at the sight of the elementary school across the way.  we get our ice cream and walk over to wait.

and i am thankful for the elementary school playground and ice cream.  and for Howard who was so very kind.  thankful for the exit 49 so i could be off the highway.  thankful for the husband on the phone who is so very kind too.  thankful for the finding of a hotel-a fancy shmancy hotel-for cheap.  the term Travel Mercies is being redefined.

  mimi colorado 4       140622_0004

140622_0003       140622_0005

still, here i am

with all these decisions to make.  lots and lots of decisions.  i have this complex and difficult history with decisions that adds to the struggle.  i’ve begun to understand this about me.

i wake in the night to hear her tossing and turning.  the thermometer reads 102.  she says her throat hurts bad.  i’ve nothing to offer for relief and no transportation.  i do what i can to make her comfortable, taking her cot and giving her the bed.  the boys sleep soundly through it all, it’s all a grand adventure and these detours are nothing to lose sleep over- to them.

i flex and make a new plan for tomorrow;

    1. pick up rental  go to urgent care
    2. pick up rental
    3. stop at transmission shop.
    4. sell car to the junk yard.
    5. get back on our way?  or just go home?


we all decide that continuing on is the wise choice.  there are cousins to connect with and a new cousin to meet.  the kids have no idea how hard this all is.  all these decisions made with limited information and limited sleep.  they are good sports and enjoy themselves regardless of what i choose.

mimi colorado 3

 the sick one spends her days in bed while the boys and their cousin play in their fort.  grandma stays behind, because though my sick one is 14, i won’t let her be sick on her own.  we girls, as we’ve been called for years and years, spend rare hours together.   the ruts in the road are well worn and try as we might to forge a new path these ruts are deep, compounded by distance and lack of time for tending.  i realize this as we have time for talking, brief moments to share from our hearts.  i tread lightly-testing the ground as i go to see if it is safe to move forward.  sometimes it is and i share deeply.  sometimes it isn’t and i hold back.  sometimes i forget about the testing and self-editing and realize after the places that cause discomfort for them and for me.  there are moments to ponder that these are the ones who have known me the longest….yet, in some ways, hardly know me at all.


 my prayers are reduced to groaning.  i’m losing my footing and beginning to forget what i know.  i’m spending time with family by day and tending to a sick teenager by night. the fog creeps in and my body shifts into survival, physical and spiritual fatigue takes its toll.  the One who knows and understands everything, He breaks through the fog and gives strength to keep going and keep loving and keep engaging.  to listen and seek to know, without seeking to be known.

 “in times like these,” He encourages, “it’s no longer about being in the word every day.  it’s about living the word every moment.”


 still, despite the personal victory won of remaining engaged, other hopes fade and begin to die out.

i take a risk and share with a friend;

 “it’s just hard to see any hope of anything else but this ever.”

he replies;

 “Don’t give up hope.  God is big.”

as our travel shifts to the North, my eyes and heart begin to take in hope.  those words spoken by a fellow traveler are life giving.  the fog lifts if only a little.  my eyes catch glimpses of hope in unexpected places.  i grab the camera and my pen, because i want to remember both the bigness of my God and the way He speaks.

I AM your feast, in the presence of enemies...” (via jon foreman/psalm 23)


 a tree-growing out of the rock.  planted and tended and grown by the Only One who could.

words that press in just the right places:

Oh child, I have searched and known you!
I know when you sit down and when you rise up;
I discern your thoughts from afar.
I search out your path and your lying down and Am acquainted with all your ways.
Even before a word is on your tongue, behold, I the LORD, know it altogether.
I hem you in, behind and before and I lay My Hand upon you.
(psalm 139)


He is big.
Bask in the hope of His Bigness
Behold it.
Bask in the Wonder of being searched, known, and treasured.


and then, seriously, i’m walking under Mt. Rushmore’s hall of flags and i look up and see this!! It’s Rhode Island’s flag, in case anyone wants to know. the 13th state. Admitted to the Union in 1790

 “And this hope is an anchor to our very soul, because He who promised is Faithful.”


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