The Wordsmiths’ Cafe- Edition 4: 3 Things to Do With a Rejection

“I could wallpaper an entire room with rejection letters,” my writing instructor said.

I wished he was kidding, but I knew it was true. There have been many times when I received an email I didn’t want to open. The subject line said it all.

“Thank you.”

In other words, thank you but no thank you. Thank you, but your piece doesn’t fit our needs at this time. If we get enough of those emails, we may decide writing is not our thing. It’s too hard, or perhaps we heard God wrong when we felt him calling us to do it.

After writing off and on in different genres for the past eight years, I’ve learned rejection will come. There is no question about it. But we can learn from it. It can make us grow instead of making us bitter, and we can become better writers because of it.

We have to see it as a stepping tool rather than a smack in the face. Even though it does feel like a smack in the face.

Here are 3 things you can do after a rejection:

  1. Ask yourself, “Is this the right market?” There are a lot of publications out there. It can be overwhelming, and it may take a while to find the right one for the piece you’re writing. But if you submit your place to a magazine, e-zine, etc. where it doesn’t fit, the only result will be frustration. Take time to read the publication’s back pieces and see if your manuscript will compliment what they write. If it doesn’t, keep looking.
  2. See if there are any opportunities outlined in your rejection email or letter. Sometimes you’ll receive an email saying the piece doesn’t fit their needs. So what are their needs? Does the publication have a list of themes they stick to each quarter? If so, you may be able to save your manuscript to submit later. Make sure you look at all the guidelines and needs of the publication before you submit. Doing so will not only save the editor time, but you as well.
  3. Take time to explore your niche. It can take years to find your niche and your voice as a writer. Don’t try to rush the process. Ask yourself, “Who am I writing to? What is her story? What are her struggles, her dreams and her beliefs?” Asking yourself these questions will not only make you a better writer, but target your audience. Because trying to write for everyone will essentially mean writing for no one.

Whatever you do, don’t give up! Remember, some of the best writers faced rejection many times before they saw success. Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Max Lucado and Lysa TerKeurst (just to name a few) all forged their way through letters saying “no” before they saw their first “yes.”

Time spent honing your craft and learning is never wasted. Writers write their way through doubt. So pick up the pen, pull out the laptop and keep going.

 

The Wordsmiths’ Cafe: Edition 3

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Welcome to edition 3 of the Wordsmiths’ Cafe! Each quarter on the 15th of the month, I will be offering writing tips, resources and links I hope will help you in your writing journey. This newsletter is part of the Ladder to Rooftop Blogging academy started by my dear friend, Jami Amerine. You can find more info about the academy here.

3 Questions to Help You Self-Edit Before You Hit “Publish”

Have you ever wished you had a personal editor? I can’t count the number of times I have. As many times as I review, delete and reword the articles and blog posts that are published each week, I still find things to change. But since freelance writing doesn’t pay the bills and I haven’t written a bestseller, I’ve come up with several questions to ask myself each time my finger hovers over the “publish” button.

This list is not all-inclusive, but it helps me know whether my writing needs tightening or perhaps needs to be saved for a later season in life. If you’re looking for ways to help you self-edit, I hope you find this list a good place to start.

  1. Is the message of my post clear? Many times, I start one place and end in another. And that is okay as long as there is a clear message to the post, but often the reason I end up some place else is because I went down a rabbit trail. And then another and another. If your reader can’t pick out one or two main points to take away with them after they leave your site, they are probably not going to remember your post. “Sticky Statements” are a great way to highlight these points, but you can also communicate the main point with repetition, questions and bullet points. The possibilities are endless; just make sure your takeaway is clear.

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  1. Is this something that belongs in my journal instead of a blog post? Often, I read a post and it is though the person vomited all over the page. Whether the emotion is anger, pain or bitterness, it is obvious that the conflict is still raw and they haven’t had a chance to digest it or learn from the experience. Posts like this often come across as whiny or ranting and leave the reader feeling like they’ve just been slapped in the face rather than given encouragement or hope. While every post may not be encouraging, our goal as writers should be to propel our readers to do something other than bury their heads in the sand.
  1. Can this piece be tightened? The more I review things I’ve written, the more I see I have a habit of repeating myself. And while some repetition is good to get your point across, there is no need to say the same thing twenty different ways. When a reader hops over to your site to read a blog post, they typically want to be done within a few minutes. We live in a world where attention spans are getting shorter and shorter and if you are rambling on and on, your reader will get bored. Ask yourself if there are any unnecessary words, repetitive phrases or sentences that have nothing to do with your main focus. If so, you are probably safe to remove them. Also check to see of there are areas where you use the past perfect tense.
  • For example, this sentence is written in the past perfect tense. “I had wondered if it was possible to keep going.” If I change it to active voice, my writing stays moving and keeps the reader more engaged: “I wondered if it was possible to keep going.”

While everyone has their own style and ways to communicate their message, I’ve found most successful writers incorporate these steps in one way or another. Never compromise your voice or try to sound like someone else. God gave you a unique voice, and the more you use it, the more it will begin to fit you like a glove.

Write on, and remember to support others along the way by sharing what you learn.

 

*You can find edition 2 of the Wordsmiths’ Cafe here.

The Dream Killer Called Perfection (And What to Do About It)

the dream killer called perfection

There are words that will never make it to this blog.

Often they get typed, retyped and then deleted. Sometimes they spin around my head for a while only to get lost in some black hole of writer’s abyss. Others wind up in my journal, which is where they belong.

The truth is, my writing will follow the same pattern as other areas of my life if I let it. I will try with all my human strength to perfect it, only to realize what seemed “perfect” an hour ago in fact wasn’t. It’s a vicious cycle. And although it’s taken a lot of heartache and unclenching of fists, God is showing me it isn’t worth it.

For months, a fear of failure prevented me from taking a major step in my writing. I knew the project wasn’t perfect. There were areas of my resume which could be improved. And then improved some more.

Every time I poised myself to hit the “send” button, thousands of what-ifs ran through my head like a freight train. Until one day I sensed God saying to me, “Are you going to trust me?”

It was  valid question and one I didn’t know if I could answer. I wanted to sink into the whiny voice of my kids when they don’t get their way and say, “But God….”

With a simple question from a loving Father, I realized this leap of faith wasn’t about being perfect. It was about trusting the only Perfect One. I had to click the “send” button and believe that if God wanted the mountain to move, he would provide a way.

As my pastor likes to say, my job was to take the natural step. His job was to do the supernatural.

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Friend, if you’re in a place where God is asking you to do something that seems beyond logic or your own ability, you are exactly where he wants you to be. The Maker of the universe is in the business of using ordinary, everyday people like you and me to accomplish mighty things. But the key is this: We have to take the step that seems illogical.

We have to move past the imperfections, the procrastination and the endless excuses and trust that if he’s asking us to do something, there is a reason.

That email I sent? It wasn’t perfect. But a few days ago I got an answer. And in an instant, I moved one huge step closer to a dream God placed in my heart many years ago.

Thanks be to God, I have a literary agent!

I know there are still a lot of what-ifs ahead of me. I know there will be days when my fingers are poised to hit the “send” button and a million questions flood my head.

And when they do, I will remember that still, small voice of my Father, pushing me to take the natural step.

“Do you trust me?”

 

Linking up with these communities: #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory

The Wordsmiths’ Cafe: Edition 2

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When the Cursor Won’t Stop Cursing You

If we write, chances are we’ve been there. We sit down at our laptops to put that piece together, and stare at the blank screen. Then we stare some more. The cursor blinks at us mockingly and the more it blinks, the harder it becomes to put words on the page.

First let me say this is normal. There is nothing wrong with you when writer’s block comes. It’s an unwelcome part of the process.

As Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly, and sometimes it’s like drilling rock and blasting it out with charges.”

And he’s right. There is no rule. But there are a few things that have helped me when the blank screen stares me in the face.

The next time the cursor mocks you, here are a few tips to try:

  1. Get away from your computer. Most writers I know type directly into their computer, although I do know a few who hand write their stuff and then transfer it over. But here’s the thing. Your blank computer screen will not fuel your creative juices. Get up, go for a walk, play with the dog, or whatever. Just do something else. Take a notepad or your phone if it had a notes/ idea app. When the words come to you, record them in the moment. You’ll be surprised what some movement can do for your creativity.
  1. Read something. (other than your own blog) Pick up a book, magazine, or novel and dig in. Good writers read, and they usually read more than they write. While you don’t want to copy what someone else has written, you will find inspiration or perhaps a new angle on a topic you’ve been thinking about.
  1. People watch. Observe nature. Take in your surroundings. And by your surroundings, I don’t mean your blank computer screen. Get and do life. Pay attention to the birds flying outside your window. Listen to your kids’ conversation. Trust me, there’s plenty of fodder there. (but exercise caution there, as your kids will one day read what you write, if they’re not already) Eavesdrop on a conversation at the mall. There is inspiration all around you. Sometimes we just have to stop hurrying from one place to another long enough to notice it.

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  1. Journal. It’s amazing how the words will flow when we’re not worried about sharing them with anyone. I once heard someone say we should journal more than we blog or write for an audience and I have to say, although I don’t always practice this, I agree. While we may not share those thoughts written in private with anyone but God, they will provide a jumping board for later writing. They will replenish our soul and allow the Spirit to work.
  1. Start with a story. This tip comes from a writer and speaker I’ve come to respect over the years, Lysa TerKeurst. If you’re still stumped about what to write, tell a story. We all have stories to be shared. Tell your readers one, whether it’s your own or something you heard, and go from there. See where the Spirit leads and ask yourself what life lessons can be applied from the story you share. The possibilities are endless.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. If you’re still hitting a roadblock, take some time off to recharge your batteries, but set a time when you will return so you’re not tempted to procrastinate.

Be yourself. You are the only “you” this world will ever have, and faking it won’t get you anywhere. It will only exhaust you and make you want to quit.

God has given you a voice, a story to share, and a desire to write. If he’s called you to do it, he will equip you. So let’s push forward with confidence.

 

*To read edition 1 of the Wordsmiths’ Cafe, click here.

*The Wordsmiths’ Cafe is part of the Ladder to Rooftop Blogging Academy. For more info, click here.

The Wordsmiths’ Cafe- Edition 1

wordsmiths' cafe

Welcome to edition 1 of the Wordsmiths’ Cafe! This is a section of the Ladder to Rooftop Blogging Academy, started by my dear friend Jami Amerine. You can access this amazing resource filled with hundreds of tips from other bloggers here.

On the first day of each month, I will be offering tips on blogging and the craft of writing. I will share things I’ve learned in the process, time saving strategies, and resources I’ve found helpful. My hope is that these tips will help you progress in your projects and save you some frustration.

Hosting Blog Series and Guest Posting

Do you ever wonder how bloggers keep up with posting two, three, sometimes more times per week and constantly have fresh ideas? I have. My idea mill is usually running and I can find inspiration in the strangest of places, but often I don’t have the time to put these ideas on the keyboard.

As a mom raising two young children and a schedule packed with other activities, my time to write is limited. Not only that, but I like to work on other projects such as book proposals, guest posts, and freelance articles.

Consistency is important to blogging. Whether you blog two or three times a week or less, it is important that you readers know what to expect.

One of the biggest tools I have found to help me maintain this consistency is hosting blog series with guest posts from other writers. Here are a few tips for how to going about doing this:

  • Find other writers in your niche. Whether your niche is fashion, faith, or food, you want to find other writers who blog about or have knowledge of this area. Even if they are not bloggers, you can easily interview them for a guest post. My blogging community has been a tremendous source of encouragement to me and has kept me moving forward on this journey. You can connect with other bloggers on link-ups, online blogging and writing courses, Blogging Facebook groups, etc. Here is a list of a few you many want to check out:
  • Compel Training
  • Hope Writers
  • Tribe Writers
  • Blogging Boost
  • Rise Up Writers

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  • Outline your expectations. I have found that the more specific you are, the better. If there are grey areas in your email, your guest writer will more than likely not know what you want. Specify word count, when you need the post (make sure you give yourself time for formatting, etc.), whether you want a teaser post on their blog, whether or not you want them to respond to comments, if there is a graphic needed with their post and what size, etc. Make sure you also ask them to include a bio and headshot.
  • Send an email or message inviting your fellow bloggers to guest post. Make sure you give them plenty of advanced notice. I like to give my guest posters at least a month to prepare. Give them general details such as the date and the theme or topic and if they’re interested, you can follow up with another email with specific details about what you need from them.
  • Create a format you will use for your posts and be consistent. I usually create a common graphic which I place at the beginning of each post in a series. This graphic will include the name of the series and my site. Your guest writers can share this graphic on social media to promote the series. You can also have your guests create their own unique graphic for each post with a quote from their post or something pertaining to it. Lately, I have been putting my my guest’s headshot and bio at the bottom of each post, but you can place it wherever you want. Just pick a layout and stick with it, so each of the posts in your series have a fluid look.
  • Have fun and be generous. Promote your guest writers’ posts on all of your social media outlets. Interact with the readers and let them know you appreciate them. This is a perfect opportunity to expand your network and your guest’s so be gracious in your interaction and don’t simply disconnect for the two or three weeks when you don’t have to constantly be producing content.

Hosting series and guest posts have become a crucial tool to help me work on other projects, expand my readership, and keep up with producing consistent content. I hope this strategy will become useful for you too as your progress in your writing and set new goals.

If you’d like to check out a guest post in my most recent series, you can find it here.

The Answer That Changes Everything

Spirit of God

“I believe in you.”

Four powerful words can propel us. We step into the unknown and take endeavors we never dreamed possible with a little push of encouragement.

But often our dreams are met with skepticism and negativity. We want to do a “new thing,” but when we mention it to those close to us we receive raised eyebrows or glossed over looks of boredom.

Sometimes this lack of understanding can freeze us in our tracks. Fear and self-doubt take over, and we figure we fooled ourselves by thinking we could make a difference in this big, vast world.

I get it. I’ve been there one too many times. But I also know it only takes once voice, one word of affirmation that rises above the others to change the course of our steps forever.

Do you know what the God of the universe says about you? You were created on purpose, for a purpose.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

The actual Greek word used here for “masterpiece” is “poema,” which has a similar meaning to our English word, “poem.” In other words, God is writing a poem to the world through you.

Did you get that? The same person who spoke the galaxies into existence is writing a poem to the world through you.

No one can write it in the same way you can, because each of us was created with a unique message, purpose and way of conveying God’s love.

When I started this blog two years ago, blogging was the last thing on my radar. I had no desire to start a website and was writing fiction. I was slowly submitting short stories to various publications and making little headway.

Something inside me ached to reach others right where they were, with no middle man deciding whether my words were worthy to be printed. I yearned to glorify my Creator by sharing my experiences with others, letting them know they weren’t alone in their struggles with insecurity, loneliness and striving.

Even though I knew God was calling me to write, I froze. For months I came up with excuses and reasons why I couldn’t move forward.

Often, the biggest doubter we have to overcome is the one playing on repeat in our heads.

Then one day in the face of my hesitancy, a few voices rose above the noise. And I went for it.

The Spirit of God is not one of complacency. He is ever on the move.

And when we move with him, beautiful happens. As we go forth in sync with the Spirit, there is no limit to what God do in us and through us.

Can I tell you something today? I believe in you. I believe God created you on purpose. And I believe he has a plan for your life that no one else on this earth has the ability to achieve but you.

Will you believe with me? The future of your life depends on it.

 

*Linking up with Kelly BalarieJennifer Dukes Lee and Holley Gerth to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.

Humbled and Grateful: The Liebster Award

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When Tiffany of Simply for One nominated my blog for the Liebster Award last week, I was humbled and grateful for this sweet friend’s encouragement. I have followed Tiffany’s posts for several months now, and I love her ability to bring fresh perspective and illuminate common subjects in a new way.

The Liebster Award is an award given by bloggers for bloggers. It helps draw attention to relatively new blogs and is a great way to introduce readers to quality writing and sites that they may not have discovered yet.

Liebster is a German word which means dearest, sweetest, kindest, lovely, and valued. I am honored that a fellow writer would use such a word to describe me, and am thrilled to be introducing you to some of the blogging community that has become so dear to me during this journey.

The Rules Are:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Offer thanks and a link back to the blogger who nominated you.
  • Share 5 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate five other bloggers you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 email subscribers.
  • Answer the questions asked by the person nominating you and ask 5 questions of your nominees.

*Disclaimer: I do not know how many subscribers all of my blogging friends have, so I did not base my picks on this info.

My Five Random Facts:

  1. I played three different musical instruments while growing up: the piano, the trumpet and the guitar. The guitar still is collecting dust in my closet, as I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. I am committed to finding time to play it again, eventually.
  2. I have Cherokee Indian roots. My great grandmother was on the Trail of Tears from North Carolina to Oklahoma. I am proud to have this family heritage and love learning about the history behind it.
  3. I cannot stand white walls. My husband and I have lived in several different houses since getting married, and one of the first projects we tackled in each one was painting. I love color.
  4. One of the careers I considered while growing up was an Interior Decorator. I love turning a house into a home and take pleasure in creating a welcoming environment.
  5. I am a Southern girl, through and through. I believe hospitality should be a way of life and not just an inconvenience. My accent comes out when talking to my family. I love real BBQ, boiled peanuts, and sweet tea. Marriage may have turned me into a gypsy, but my heart belongs in the South.

Questions from Tiffany @ Simply for One:

  1. Why do you blog? I have been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember, but for a long time I was very resistant to the idea of blogging. However, a little over a year ago I felt God gently pushing me to share my writing with others and I knew blogging was a way I could readily take this step. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and through sharing our experiences we can encourage one another and let someone we may never meet know they are not alone. I want my readers to know that their identity is rooted in who they are in Christ, not in the shifting shadows of this world.
  2. Where does your inspiration for your blog posts come from? Before I write, I always try to spend time with God first. Time in his Word and time in prayer. I don’t do this perfectly, but I know that without the prompting of the Spirit my writing will fall flat. I draw a lot of inspiration from simply doing life. My experiences as a mom and the funny things my kids say. I’m constantly looking for a new angle or way to illustrate a point of view.
  3. Share a favorite scripture or quote that encourages/ inspires you. This is a hard one for me as I have so many. I have to say one of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
  4. What is your favorite guilty pleasure? It has to be my TV shows. I love sitting on the couch to watch some mind-numbing TV with my husband after the kids go to bed. Some of my favorites are: The Voice, Parenthood, and Top Chef.
  5. If you could meet one person and ask them one question, who and what would it be? If the one person can be living or dead, I would pick the apostle John, and I would ask him how he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus through all of the persecution he faced. He wrote my favorite Gospel, and the Spirit never fails to speak to me when reading his writing.

Now, for the fun part! Here are the bloggers I nominate:

  1. Betsy at Faith Spilling Over: I love the way Betsy brings the truth of the Word to life in an applicable, practical way. Her writing is full if great insight and wisdom.
  2. Brandi at Faith 2 ShineBrandi’s writing is like putting on a warm pair of slippers by a crackling fire. She has a beautiful way with words, and her love for the Lord shines through each syllable.
  3. Amy at AmyDalke.comAmy’s writing is always real and authentic. She has a great sense of humor which she always weaves into her writing, making you feel right at home.
  4. Meredith at MeredithBernard.com: When I first read Meredith’s writing, it was like discovering a long lost friend. I can imagine myself sitting on the couch with her over coffee and laughing over the latest stories about our kids. Her heart for her reader and most of all for God shines bright.
  5. Ellen at EllenChauvin.comI love how Ellen uses nature and everyday occurrences which the typical person may overlook to illustrate her message. She always draws me into the story with the vivid picture she paints.

Dear Nominees, you are each deserving of this award, but your participation is voluntary. Should you accept the award, here are my questions for you:

  1. What prompted you to start writing?
  2. What is a secret talent you have?
  3. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go?
  4. Did you have a childhood hero, and if so who was it?
  5. What is one of your favorite Bible verses or quotes?

Thank you so much staying with me on this journey, friends. This exercise certainly stretched me in new ways, and I hope you will enjoy these writers’ sites as much as I do. Happy reading!

Until next time,

Abby

On Writing and New Friends

on writing

Two days ago, I walked away from an experience that changed my life. For the first time, I was surrounded by over eight hundred women who not only understood my desire to write, but matched my passion and yearning to fulfill the dream to write or speak. I was overwhelmed. I was in awe of the way God moved and spoke and stirred hearts that weekend. He met me right where I was at and answered the questions that pulsed deep at the core of me. Was this real? Did I belong there? Should I continue? And the resounding response I received over and over was yes. Yes. Yes.

Two weeks ago, my dear friend Meredith Bernard, who I finally got a chance to meet last weekend, invited me to participate in a blog hop where I would answer three questions about my writing, and then introduce you to three new writers who have impacted me in various ways. So today, I invite you on this fun journey with me.

What am I working on?

Right now I am getting back into the rhythm of blogging after taking a short break and attending She Speaks. Up until two weeks ago, I was working feverishly on a book proposal, which I presented to publishers at the conference. That proposal is in the hands of one publisher now, who will be digging into it over the next week and getting back to me with a response. I am hopeful, nervous, anxious, and everything in between. But when I return to a spirit of prayer, an unspeakable calm comes over me, because I know it’s in the hands of the One who placed the dream in my heart from the beginning. The very best place to be.

Why do I write what I write?

I gave my life to Christ as a result of reading a book. Words matter. They matter to me and to the world. I write with the hope of encouraging another person who may be experiencing the same hope or disappointment or dream or disillusionment. I write because I enjoy reading. I write because I want to draw others closer to the Creator, and hopefully compel them to open THE book. The only book which is living. The Bible. I also write as a way of processing my emotions. I always tell people I’m much better at expressing myself on paper than I am verbally. Writing makes me happy, and the joy it brings shines through to my other roles as a wife, mother, sister, and friend.

How does your writing process work?

There is a Ernest Hemingway quote that I absolutely love which answers this question. He says, “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; Sometimes it’s like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” I’ve found this to be so true in my own writing. Sometimes I can sit down and have a blog post in twenty minutes. Other times I’ll sit there for a couple of hours and still be struggling to find the words. I always keep a pen and paper in my purse so that I can jot things down that come to me. I’m constantly looking for a new angle, way to illustrate a point, or unique way to view a common theme.

Now, I am excited to introduce you to three writers who have encouraged and inspired me along this journey:

Kasey Hanson

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Like many of my blogging friends, I met Kasey on Compel Training, which is an online writing class I’ve been taking for about four months. Kasey has been a continual source of encouragement to me on my writing journey and always draws me to the foot of the cross.

Kasey married her childhood sweetheart and they have three big hearted, active children. She is a student at heart and loves to learn. She teaches first through third grade students at their church, and is actively involved in women’s Bible study. Kasey can’t keep quiet when it comes to God’s love and writing is her way of saying thank you to God the for healing and freedom she lives in today. One of the many ways she does this is on her beautiful blog, Kasey Hanson: Finding My Place in HIStory.

Brandi Rennemeyer

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The second person I want to introduce you to is Brandi, who I also met on Compel and recently had the privilege of meeting in person at the She Speaks conference. Brandi’s warm personality drew me instantly to her. She writes about combining her faith with the everyday, hard realities of life and shares her authentic, real experiences on her blog, Faith 2 Shine. After many years loving Jesus but falling into the trap of comparison, and unfulfilled expectations, Brandi boldly decided it was time to let the walls around her fall and live life with an unpretentious kind of faith. In a noisy and pretentious world, Brandi’s blog is a breath of fresh air that I know you will love.

Katie McLaughlin

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Last, but certainly not least, I want you to meet Katie. I met Katie through Blogelina, and she and I have been blogging friends for nearly a year now. She has been a continual support to me through her words on this road, and I love her way her blog cuts straight to the point of the matter. She writes about giving up the philosophy of having it all at her blog, Pick Any Two, and I can always count on her for a quick nugget of wisdom, some inspiration, or a yummy recipe. Her website is a place where women get ideas on how to stop playing supermom and prioritize what’s really important.

I hope you all enjoyed taking this blogging and writing journey with me as much as I enjoyed writing about it. Words matter. Your story matters. Never underestimate the power of it.

Time to Rest

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I’ve had a still-in-my-pajamas-at-noon kind of day. The hubby is out of town for the week, my little ones have been stretching me in new ways that I never even knew existed, and I’m so tired and overwhelmed that the idea of cutting up veggies to make myself a nice salad sounded like too much work. I settled for easy-mac. Yep, it’s that kind of day.

We all need time to rest. Time to recharge our batteries and put away our phones. To stop checking email and Facebook and Twitter every five minutes and let our souls reconnect with the One who made us. Time to quit striving and chasing and people pleasing and just be.

The God who created us put the need for rest within us so that in our weakest moments, we would call out to Him.

We see it in the Psalms of David. We see it in the Garden of Gethsemane.

There are times when I think that if I take a break from this blog for a week or two or even a month that I will lose the online community I’ve worked for over a year to build. I realize now how crazy that idea truly is.

We need rest.

It is part of who we are. Who God created us to be. And considering the fact that at the end of next week I will be at a very intensive writing conference, I think now is a good time to take a break.

Over the past several months, I’ve met women in the online community who have encouraged me, loved me, and pushed me to be brave. They have showered me with much needed grace. Some of them I may never meet. Others I will meet in ten days.

So for the next two weeks, I’m taking a blogging vacation. I’m going to use the extra time to enjoy my family, soak in the Word, and pray.

To everyone who has said a kind word, offered encouragement, and pushed me to keep going, thank you from the very depths of my heart. As much as I love writing, there are times when doubt and discouragement get the best of me. It happens to us all. We all need people who can take our hand, lift us up, and propel us forward.

If there is someone in your life who seems like they are weary, can I just encourage you to reach out to that person today? You will be so glad you did.

Much Love,

Abby

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

Today I’m linking up with the following online communities. Each one offers encouragement, inspiration, and grace in its own unique way. Click the buttons below to learn more.

 

                     

When Your Faith Seems Small

divine

 

Whenever my family travels via airplane, I always prepare for the worst-case-scenario and hope for the best.

When I gave birth to our first child, we lived over two thousand miles away from all three sets of grandparents. So we did a lot of traveling.

All of the binkies had to be in the right compartment of the diaper bag. All liquids had to be in the right size container, because if they weren’t, security would confiscate them. Our list of to-dos before departure lasted for days.

But inevitably, something always went wrong. Our carry-on luggage was repeatedly unloaded and searched. My husband, who has a very common name, somehow wound up on a TSA watch list. And despite an endless supply of binkies and snacks, my son screamed when he’d had enough of the plane. There was no stopping him.

Each cross-country trip we took taught me a lot about life, and my inability to control it despite my best efforts. I realized that my “worst-case-scenario” tactics were often the same approach I take toward my relationship with God.

God, I’ll be obedient, but I really don’t think this is going to go well.

God, I’ll pray, but I really don’t see how this situation is going to change.

God, I’ll reach out to that person, but I honestly don’t see how it will help her circumstances.

If I’m honest, I’m surprised that God continues to answer my prayers despite my doubt. I’m in awe of His unending grace and patience when my faith often feels smaller than a mustard seed.

But here’s the thing about that seed. When given the right nutrients, sun, and water, it grows. When we drench it in that Living water, which can only be found in the only perfect One, it thrives, despite our own incapability to nourish it.

God can turn our worst-case-scenario into undeniable evidence of the divine.

We come to Him with a minuscule bit of faith, and because of who the faith is in, it moves mountains. (Matthew 17:20) Even if circumstances don’t change, our attitude toward them will.

In a couple of weeks, I am stepping outside of my comfort zone in a big way. I am wrapping up my spirit in words and syllables and presenting them to publishers who may decide they want to see the finished product. My book.

And then again, they may not.

Even though my mind keeps wanting to go to that worst-case-scenario, I know that I serve a God who placed this dream in my heart from the beginning. And as a fellow writer once told me, “His promises go further than my dreams.”

So I’m leaving it at the foot of the cross, where I can find sanctuary and rest. There is freedom in knowing He is in control. There is liberty in knowing He is the one writing the story, even though I try to capture pieces of it with my pen.

I’m trusting that no matter what is in store for me over the next couple of weeks, in the hands of the Creator, it’s going to be big.

 

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…” (Ephesians 1:18)

 

Today I’m linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart, where women encourage and inspire each other every week by sharing their words and their hearts. Click the button below to learn more.