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Sound bytes. That’s all I seem to have time for these days. It’s easy and I’m lazy. Period. I’ve had a love hate relationship with blogging and a love love relationship with Facebook. It’s true. Just ask one of my 1600 closest friends. Pop on in for a pseudo-conversation and a peek at my latest flair or mobile upload. Stop by here and see the dust collecting on my pretty daisies. It’s sad really, my laziness. I love writing, so why don’t I make the time to put fingers to keys and produce something worth reading? Laziness. Oh how I hate that word. Poor time management. Yes, that too. I like Facebook. Did I mention it’s easier?

I fondly remember the days when my blogging buddies and I frequented each others pages, spreading our encouragement, laughing at each other’s silliness, praying each other through the crappy days, and recommending books, music, movies, and other blogs. Many of them have abandoned blogging all together. Me? I’ve been treading water for a long time, trying to decide if I was circling the drain, just out for a lazy (there’s that word again) float, or if I was just taking a little break from the exercise.

Blogging used to be fun. Then I joined a writer’s group and it became not-so-fun. (Yes, I worded the sentence that way on purpose.) What was once spontaneous and gave me a public voice, became a millstone around my neck as I learned about platform, audience, self-promotion, and the words, “If you want to be successful, you NEED a blog.” Uh oh. Did I sense a bandwagon approaching? Is that what happened? Someone told me that I NEED a blog, so my rebellious spirit rose up to prove them wrong? I had been blogging for 5 years at that point. I didn’t NEED my blog, but I wanted it.  I watched as friends who had no desire to blog, created their sites and dutifully (another word I’m not fond of) clicked away to build their network. I hopped on over to Facebook and began getting friend requests from writers who don’t know me but wanted me to “be their fan” and help promote their work. Sure. I can do that. But me? Forced to blog because that’s what writers do? That rebellious spirit planted both feet, squared her shoulders up (can you see her hands on her hips and the challenging gleam in her eyes?) and said, “Wanna bet?”

Who likes being told what to do? How do I reign that girl in? How is it August already and I haven’t posted since January? I’m feeling it again. I want to blog. I want to connect through the written word and I want to have the freedom to use more than 140 characters, so I still fail to see the point of Twitter. Sorry. Facebook is my friend, but I miss my old friends, so here I am. I’m back again.

How have you been?

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Just this morning I hid in the bathroom so I could finish reading Tricia Goyer’s new book, Blue Like Play Dough. I had forgotten about my commitment to be a part of her blog tour, and though I was excited to receive her book in the mail, I thought it would have to wait until August after our summer groups ended. Then I got the email telling me my review was scheduled for July 30th. What? I’m in the middle of our busy summer schedule and barely have time to breathe let alone read and review a book!

BlueLikePlayDough

My desire to be a woman of my word won out and I began reading. By the end of the first page, Tricia’s conversational style had drawn me in. After the 50 or so parenting books I’ve read, I wasn’t expecting any new information, or to have the condition of my heart challenged.  I thought I would have to rush through the book looking for highlights I could share to encourage you to read it as well. I was unprepared for all that God would speak to me through Tricia’s words – busy or not.

In Chapter One, Tricia writes:

“He loves me just as I am. He knows my to-do list and that I’ll never get to the end of it. Ever. God sees my heart… My flaws neither surprise Him nor dissuade him from entering my life. It’s not as if God says, `I was going to visit you today, but I think I’ll wait until you balance that checkbook, clean out your fridge, and start the Bible study you’ve been meaning to get around to.’ God’s not like that…”

She wrote these words months ago, but God knew I’d need to read them now. That’s where I’m living this summer, in a place of thankfulness that God comes to me IN my mess. I’m an organized mess which puts me in the category of being a walking, breathing oxymoron.

Throughout her book, Tricia speaks of the ways God has molded and shaped her through the trials of being a teen mom, having 3 generations living under one roof, and the realization that THIS is life, it’s not something that happens after…(you fill in the blank.) I felt the check in my spirit as she spoke of that inner nudging moms get when they know something is wrong or when they feel convicted of God’s leading in certain situations. But the real zinger came when I read these words:

“Lord, what’s up? Why do I feel so heavy hearted?  I paused as my whispered prayers caught in my throat. Deep down I knew what was wrong. ..I’d been lazy about my spiritual health. I’d made time for ME. I’d even found time to write about God, but I hadn’t made time for God.“

Ouch. She nailed me, and the explanation for my weariness crystallized in my heart. I knew she was right. I updated my Facebook to say Tricia was kicking my butt, and my friend Margie responded with “Tricia? Or God?” Ouch. Nailed again.

I like the play dough analogy. It fits. God squeezes me in unexpected ways as he forms me into the woman I’m meant to be. I have my own shape, and like the mood ring I treasured in junior high, my colors change with the amount of heat I’m feeling. I’ve been blue a lot over the past year. Today I’m green – peaceful, knowing I’m right where I’m supposed to be, and addressing the things in my life that the Holy Spirit has shown me.  This book played a part in my shaping as God used Tricia’s life to remind me that I need Him just as much as she does – as we all do – and that He wants me too.

Why should you read this book? Because it’s one part “we’re all in this together”, one part kick in the big girl pants, one part encouragement, and one part words of life. It was worth every minute spent reading during this busy season I’m in. Thank you Tricia!

Check out her website at http://www.triciagoyer.com

Be a part of the Get One-Give One Campaign! For details click here:

(http://triciagoyer.com/gogo.html)

To read other reviews on Tricia’s blog tour, click here:

http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/what-is-new/87-bluelikeplaydough-blog-tour

To read an excerpt from Blue Like Play Dough, click here:

http://triciagoyer.com/cmsdocuments/Blue_Like_Play_Dough_Prologue_CH_1.pdf

To purchase the book, click here: http://triciagoyer.com/store.html


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The past few weeks have been rough for our family. Our friend and neighbor, Terry, committed suicide two weeks ago.  We spent a week doing our best to hold up his wife, make phone calls for her, and attend memorial services.  It was with sadness that Benny spoke at Terry’s memorial service in the same place he had performed their wedding last April.  Please pray for Nell as she deals with this major loss.  She feels responsible though we keep telling her she’s not.  😦  The one good thing coming from this terrible situation is that we’re getting to know Nell’s son James and his wife Cris, who are our age.  This week our friends and neighbors on the other side of us told us that they are splitting up.  They have 3 little boys ages 4 and under.  Our neighborhood is a mess.  Once again we find ourselves right where we’re supposed to be, but sometimes it’s difficult not to be discouraged. Our family has also dealt with several bouts of illness and dental issues.  Please pray for us too.

We had a group from San Antonio bless our socks off a few weeks ago.  (Which is o.k. They brought us 750 pairs of new ones.)  Read about it on the SEVENS blog when you’re finished browsing here.

I just finished reading the Harry Potter books.  I’ve seen all of the movies up to this point, but reading the books gave me the richness of the tale that I didn’t realize was missing.  As far as children’s and young adult fantasy fiction is concerned, I loved them.  Especially the themes of love, loyalty, courage, and perseverance.  Max has been asking about the movies for quite awhile now, so a few weeks ago we borrowed the DVD’s from the library and watched them.  After each one we had really good discussions about the themes, good vs. evil, who represented which side, how the characters treated each other and the adults in the story, and a whole host of other things.  We also agreed that a “room of requirement” would be quite handy to have in our house. 🙂  I know the Harry Potter series  and other fantasy books can be controversial in Christian circles.  I’m making a statement of opinion and do not wish to debate this with believers who have opposing ideas about these books.  I respectfully ask that if you want to talk about how evil they are, please do it on your own blog. 🙂

I was finally able to order a few extra copies of the anthology book my story was published in.  I’ll be holding a drawing for a chance to win a copy beginning Monday. Be sure to stop back for more details.

Speaking of writing, I attended a one day conference in Colorado Springs last Saturday.  One of the speakers, Donita K. Paul, whom I’ll be blogging about soon, challenged us with homework.  I took a story idea that’s been floating around in my head for months, and actually put the skeleton outline down on paper.  There are other stories in there too, but this one won’t leave me alone.  I guess that means I’ve officially begun writing my first novel.  I find that both exhilarating and terrifying. lol

I’m blogging on yet another blog now.  As a board member of a Colorado Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, I’m required to post on the last Friday of the month on our blog, The Inkwell.  Please come and check it out.  There are lots of great writing tips, thoughts from Colorado authors, and links to great stuff on there.  Maybe I need to require myself to post here at least once a week.  My writing friend Donna recently kicked my butt when she said if we’re going to call ourselves writers we should act like it.  Writers write.  Novel idea, huh? lol


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The Warring Bride

What an email to wake up to this morning! The following is my daily reading from Ransomed Heart Ministries and an excerpt from one of my all time favorite books, Captivating.  Enjoy!


Ladies, you are the Bride of Christ…and the Bride of Christ is a warring bride.

Now, often the hardest person for us to fight on behalf of is ourself. But you must do it. Your heart is needed. You must be present and engaged in order to love well and fight on behalf of others. Without you, much will be lost. It is time to take a stand and to stand firm. We are at war. You are needed.

Yes, men are created in the image of the Warrior King. Men are warriors. But women need to fight, too. It is a powerful good when a man battles for a woman’s heart and stands between her and her enemies. But oftentimes, there is not a man present in a woman’s life to fight on her behalf. And even when there is, God desires the woman’s spirit to rise up in his strength as well. One day we will be queens – we will rule with Jesus (Rev. 21). We need to grow in our understanding and practice of spiritual warfare not only because we are getting beaten up by it but because it is one of the primary ways that we grow in Christ. He uses it in our lives to strengthen our faith, to draw us closer to Him, to train us for the role we are meant to play, to encourage us to play that role and to prepare us for our future at his side.

Much of what he allows in your life is not just for you to accept, but to get you to rise up! God wants you to know how to wield the weapons of warfare, how to take a stand and how to fight.

“One day you will be a Queen and you must open your eyes.”
(William Wallace to the Princess in Braveheart)

Women are not meant to be helpless creatures. God has given us a fierceness that is holy and is to be used on behalf of others.

(Captivating , 195-196)

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My friend Jennifer and I are still talking politics on a previous post if you’re interested in joining the discussion.  I’ll be back later on today with a new post I’m working on.   Here’s the link to the post on politics…

https://nikinowell.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/my-thoughts-on-politics/

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Rocky paths to freedom

There is so much to say that I feel like I’m on the verge of bursting. As summer is winding down, I have a lot of changes happening in my life all at once. Some are quite painful and some are exhilaratingly wonderful. I am mourning what has been while embracing hope for things to come. I am a paradox. Aren’t we all?

I received an email this morning from a friend who had some advice for me. He packaged it in beautiful words and they spoke hope and freedom into my heart. I think he’s on a similar journey and we understand each other. I am so blessed to have good friends, and I’m trying hard to be one.

I spoke on the phone with another friend last week and was able to voice a question that has been floating around in my mind lately. Am I done blogging? I asked him if he felt like the time for this had passed. He got me started on this part of my journey and we’ve both backed off from it quite a bit – neither one of us on purpose. It’s hard to put life and thoughts into words for others to read. It can leave you vulnerable to misinterpretation and criticism, not to mention that part of the time I’m forming these posts, I’m still thinking things through and my thoughts haven’t reached solid form when they spill out through my fingertips. Sometimes there is just too much to share and it feels safer to keep it inside.

I’m not done blogging. I’m figuring things out and I’m living in freedom, so I make no promises as to how often I’ll post and no apologies for the periods of time when I need to step away from the blogosphere to learn, process, grow, mourn, or just play for awhile.

The path I’m on is a bit rocky right now. That’s why I changed the picture at the top of the page. It was taken 4 weeks ago up on the Continental Divide by one of the girls who was here participating in our summer program for SEVENS. It’s a good reminder to me that rocky paths can lead me to and through beautiful places.  🙂

I leave you today with an old video of one of my new favorite singers, Francesca Battistelli.  I love the chorus of this song!  It’s what I’m doing…where I’m living…what I’m traversing…who I am trying to be…

I got a couple dents in my fender, got a couple rips in my jeans

Trying to fit the pieces together but perfection is my enemy

On my own I’m so clumsy, but on your shoulders I can see

I’m free to be me

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I was at dinner with the Captivating women last night when my family walked in the restaurant with a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, and a mylar balloon that said “Happy Mother’s Day Eve Eve” on it. Benny had added the “Eve, Eve” part. 🙂 I was really surprised and I loved it. It was totally unexpected. I have a wonderful family and I’m glad they appreciate me. It was a wonderful gift and you should have seen the three pairs of shining eyes and beaming grins directed at me as my kiddos presented me with my gifts. It was precious.

I know today is supposed to be a joyous occasion. I usually have visions of children bringing me breakfast in bed and stopping off for a cup of chai on my way to church. I imagine myself having a nice lazy lunch with my family followed by a relaxing afternoon of reading magazines and watching chick flicks. While that may not be far off from my plans for today, I’m not feeling very festive.

This Mother’s day is so different from the past eight Mother’s Days I’ve enjoyed. Losing our baby back in January has left me more emotional and painfully aware of all of the mothers in the world who are without their children. I’ve had two college friends miscarry since I did. One of them lost her twins this week. She had just created and posted a blog so friends and family could track their growth and progress. Then came the doctor’s appointment with no heartbeats. My heart is aching for her. Remember when I said I had hoped sharing my story would encourage others and let them know they are not alone? Guess who my friend turned to? So something good has come out of my loss and I believe that will continue to happen. On the flip side, one of my other friends just birthed a beautiful baby boy and I am so thrilled for her.

I still have so many unanswered questions. I feel something is missing from me. A friend of a friend, Loretta had a REALLY interesting blog post where she talked about the connection a mother and her unborn child have and how they exchange blood and stem cells and how the baby is physically a part of the mother long after she loses him/her or gives birth. I’ll be posting about that more this week.

Another friend who blogged about Mother’s Day reminded me how painful it was all of those years we didn’t have children. I had to sit through an entire church service that talked about the blessings of motherhood when I couldn’t seem to get pregnant no matter what I tried. It felt like a slap in the face and every May was a dreaded reminder of my seeming infertility. When I finally did get pregnant with Max, Benny presented me with my first Mother’s Day card…in January. 🙂 Love that man!

Mother’s Day is just not one of my favorite holidays. I’m thankful for it, but it’s bittersweet this year. Sorry to be such a downer. I hope all of you that are mothers are blessed by your children and families today. For all of you who are not yet mothers or may never be, either by choice or by circumstance, my hope for you is that God will fill you with peace and love and grant you the deepest desires of your hearts. If this is a painful holiday for you, I wish I could reach out and hug you. I know I have three phone calls to make. I want to express my gratitude to my mom, step-mom, and mother-in-law for pouring what they have into me and my family.

Happy Mother’s Day friends!  And Happy Birthday to my Mother-in-law Margie! 🙂

* Willow Tree Figurines can be found at many nationwide bookstores and at www.demdaco.com

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