Tuesday, September 25, 2012

31 days of...

hi.  my name is elizabeth and i am...
a writer.

it seems silly but it has taken years for me to identify myself this way.  i used to think that a 'writer' was someone on the bestseller list.  i've been writing for so much of my life and i always knew i had the heart of a writer...but i just recently felt comfortable sharing that with the world.  

it was fear that held me back really.  

fear that if i labeled myself as a 'writer' someone could also label me as a 'bad writer'.  

i considered it a success or failure kind of thing.  

i'm learning that for me it is more of a life or death kind of thing.  

when i write i fully experience the life i was created for.  when i don't write i feel myself withering away.  i bet there is something in your life that you experience that same way too.  maybe your life-giving thing is writing...or maybe it's painting or singing or teaching or coaching or nursing people back to health or building things or balancing checkbooks...  

whatever your thing is i bet you know what i mean.  i bet you know that you have to step into it in some way or another if you want to experience a full {and i mean 'busting at the seams'} kind of life.

so...i'm not taking orders from fear anymore.  here i am...a writer.  for better or for worse...i write.

some of my blog friends are doing a 31 day writing challenge next month.  i will be joining them.  if you are a writer {or even if you're not} you may want to join us...in fact i really wish you would!  

pick a topic.  any topic.

commit to writing about your topic every day of october.  it can be a handful of words or pages full...just write.

my problem with writing is that there are so many things i want to weave into words.  i thought picking a topic would be hard but mine actually came quite easily.  it's the topic that nearly everything i consider writing about relates back to during this season of my life...

{my kids call me 'mommy' not 'mother'}

once you have your topic, design a button - or borrow one from the nester - and then let me know what your 31 days of words will be filled with.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

pinning for compassion

so...compassion blog month continues!  {if you have no idea what the heck i am talking about - click here}
in addition to hopping over to their website to sponsor a child {or two...as some of you have done!} you can also get on board with the pinterest contest.  details are here.  it is super easy to get in on this one {and who doesn't like a good excuse to spend a little time on pinterest...there is all kinds of fall, pumpkin-y goodness going on there right now}!

you can check out my compassion pinboard if you'd like.  i would love to link up to yours too, so leave me a comment on my blog or FB if you create your own.
me and christine...our sponsored child
and remember...all these little things you are doing are helping me in my quest to travel with compassion on a blogging trip!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


there was a day last week when the sky was so heavy with moisture that you could almost feel it weighing down on your head.  it was like one of those lead blankets that they use at the dentist's office...covering the sky...so thick that the sun couldn't poke it's way through.  
it just wouldn't rain.  
i felt like at any minute the sky would open up and everything up there would come pouring down...but it never did.
a wise friend of mine said these words to me before i delivered a message at our church a few weeks ago - 'girl...you are so full and now you're just ready to pour it all out.'  she was right.  so right.

i am thankful for opportunities to pour.  writing, speaking, creating...there are so many ways that we can take the fullness of what we possess and then open up and let it fall onto others.  sometimes we are full of joy and thanksgiving.  sometimes we are full of wisdom and truth.  and then other times we are filled with sorrow and heartache.  or maybe even grief and shame.  there are so many things that can fill us up - both good and bad - but when filtered through the truth of God's word and His promises they can wash over us and those around us leaving us feeling clean and fresh and new.

when the clouds won't open up...when we won't open up...we start to feel heavy, burdened, maybe even oppressed.  we are filled to be poured.  when the pouring doesn't happen the whole flow stops...it doesn't feel good.  the sun just can't seem to break through.
today i am witnessing a downpour.  i heard it washing over my roof the moment i opened my eyes this morning.  as i write i glance up and see streams of rainwater running off my deck and then instantly refilled with more big, steady, dancing drops.  i know that soon the clouds will be empty and the blue skies will be revealed.

maybe it's the weather...or maybe it's the fact that i am feeling just sick enough to stay home and rest on a day normally busy and full of tasks...whatever the reason...my words are pouring out like the rain drenching my yard this morning.  

i have been sitting at my computer for over two hours writing...and that steady rainfall continues.  it's a strange feeling...that emptying...that pouring out.  momentarily i feel resolve...i feel my writing work is done.  then i start to fill again...with another idea birthed, another truth revealed, another story in need of telling, another feeling that should be shared...and i know i will need to find time for the pouring again.

what does your pouring out look like?  or are you feeling like those heavy clouds...so full and ready to open up?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

dear me

dear teenage me ~

before i get to the important stuff...a couple of tips that may really pay off in the long run...

1:: i know you think you are invincible but teeth really do decay and getting them drilled and filled is no fun so do this one simple thing - floss {and don't avoid brushing your teeth because you are 'too tired'}.

2:: don't buy the all-sequin multi-colored prom dress...for so many reasons...seriously...trust me on this one.

3:: practice cleaning up after yourself.  i know you think it's all part of your 'creative' side to keep your room looking like a tornado hit it but there is something to be said for organization.  you may be able to function in your mess now but wait until you add a husband and kids to the mix...i'm just sayin'.

ok...the rest of what i have to say to you is going to be a little more difficult to swallow.  you may roll your eyes and dismiss every word because you think you have it all figured out...but you don't.  i wish i could help you realize that sooner than later.  i know it would save you so much heartache...and counseling.  even though you will doubt this truth - you are so precious and so valued...but you have no idea why...no idea that it really has nothing to do with you.
that's me in the black dress with the red nails and matching red lipstick...nice...
so let's get right down to it...

you can't be all things to all people.  eventually you will lose your true self underneath the chameleon coat you wear that changes color based on who you are trying to please or get approval from at any given time.  it's ok to try your hardest at things but check your motives.

oh...and news flash...refraining from kissing boys and drinking alcohol doesn't make you a 'good person'.  again - check your motives...start figuring out the 'why' behind what you do so that when the ground gets shaky your foundation will stand.

you know that mental resume that you carry around in your head?  crumple it up and throw it in the trash.  i know...you didn't think anyone else knew about that...well i do.  i know how you keep track of every award received, every academic success, every popularity contest won, every compliment given.  i know how you imagine a gigantic piece of paper that you can never quite fill up with enough accomplishments.  guess what?  20 years from now nobody will care about that piece of paper...including you.

loving people and spending time with them is great...keep developing that gift of connecting with others.  but...and this is a big BUT {no...i didn't say you have a big BUTT...you barely have any butt}...allow for some time to be alone to connect with yourself and your Savior.  

whoa, whoa, whoa - before you stop reading...

OK...I know he's not your Savior yet.  In fact...at this point you almost cringe at the word and all those 'born again' yahoos who claim to have entered into some kind of 'new life' in Christ.  this will come as a major shock, but one day you will be one of those yahoos.  your life will be made new.  you don't see a need for that now but you will.

stop trying to read through the entire bible because you want to 'accomplish' something and start searching the scriptures for the truth and promises that God wants to speak to you right where you are.  remember that it is the living word of a living God.  it's not something to be checked off of a to-do list.

i know you believe IN God but i implore you to BELIEVE God.  everything that he has to say to you in his word can be trusted.  everything else you hear can not.  question what the world tells you and don't take everything at face value.  there is so much more depth to the people and the experiences surrounding you.  be brave enough to dive into the deep end, instead of just splashing around on the surface.

let your writing take you places...even if they are dark places.  you have dabbled in your love affair with words.  their healing power will begin to touch your life but don't hold back.  don't always write what you think others would want to hear.  write what is being whispered in your ear...on the good days...and the bad.  begin recording the story of your life...you'll want to remember all that you've come through on this journey because as you will one day see...there is great purpose in it all.

above everything - seek to believe this truth with your whole heart.  hear it.  say it.  examine it.  pray for it.  experience it...
jesus is not something to add to your resume.
jesus is not something you do because your parents told you to.
jesus is not something that happened to you when water was sprinkled on your head as a baby.
jesus is not a guilt trip.
jesus is not the quick-fix solution to whatever problem you are currently facing.

jesus is life and light...in him there is no darkness.  let his light blind you so that you might truly see.  when life gets dark seek his face...with all your strength seek his face and you'll find he has been holding yours in his hands all along.  gazing at you - a precious, valued child - with love and grace not for what you have done but for what he wants to do in you.  fight to see yourself as he sees you.

oh...and one more thing...peace is possible in your frazzled, hurried heart...i can't wait for you to know what that feels like one day.


{i wrote this letter as part of the launch for graceful by emily freeman.  i can't wait to do this study with some of the teenage girls in my life...check it out!}

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

live to write

so here's the thing about writing...it takes time.  something i haven't had a lot of lately.

sometimes i think that i need to cut some things out of my life so that i would have more time to write.  but...

despite my being a far-from-perfect wife, my husband is full of grace and says he's not going anywhere.  
my kids are not threatening to run away from home or anything {yet}.  
i definitely appreciate the paycheck i get from my job...and, more importantly, all the crazy awesome things i get paid to do.  
i can't pass up an opportunity to sit with a friend over coffee or provide impromptu counseling to anyone who corners me.  
i have to indulge my creative side at least occasionally in order to prevent a nervous breakdown.  
and this cry in my heart for widows and orphans just won't be silenced.

so...what's a word-loving writer girl to do??

i've learned the answer is really simple...
keep living.

without the living...there would be no writing.

anything that i have ever written that has connected with someone...or offered something of value, has been birthed out of life...real life...my life.

so tonight i sit at my kitchen bar watching my incredibly handsome husband clean up the dinner dishes while listening to 80's music playing on his iphone.  i stop periodically to chat with him because i have only seen him a total of 5 hours over the past week and there is always so much to catch up on.  

i glance at the moleskin on the counter next to me and remember that i need to think through the welcome message i will deliver at our women's bible study tomorrow morning...and the email i need to send to my small group leaders...oh...and i still haven't packed school lunches.  i don't even want to think about the piles of laundry that are awaiting me upstairs in my bedroom.  

i just finished telling my dish-washing honey that i have a list of dozens of things that have been written in my mind over the past few weeks {that's where most of my writing takes place...only about 10% actual ends up on the page}.  i was voicing my frustration over not having the time {and perfect, quiet, peaceful environment} to do some 'real' writing when i finally decided to push 'pause' on life for a few minutes and let my fingers do their familiar dance across the keyboard.

so...i apologize for an unplanned, all-over-the-place post tonight.  
sometimes you just gotta write.  
but you gotta live too...
because i know if the living stopped there would be no words of value left to share...

{joey has just engaged me in a conversation about how annoying it used to be to find songs on a cassette...remember that?  gotta run!}

Thursday, September 6, 2012

how you can make my dream come true!

ok faithful blog followers...i need your help this month!

if you've been around here long you know that there are a few things that are really the passions of my heart.

one of those is writing...it is my form of worship, my psycho-therapy, and my creative outlet all rolled into one.
another one of my passions is advocating for the poor around the world.

some of you know that i am a blogger for compassion - an amazing organization that releases children from poverty so that they are free to fulfill a great purpose in their lives.

our family sponsors christine...one of those fortunate kids who is now getting food in her belly, education in her brain, and the love of Jesus in her heart thanks to the folks at compassion and the few dollars we send for her each month.  it makes me so happy to say that.
it makes me so sad to say that there are still thousands of kids who have not yet been sponsored.
these are real kids...living a world away...waiting...
waiting for someone to help them not just survive but to thrive and make much of their lives.
this month i have the opportunity to make one of my dreams come true {with your help!}.  i am participating in 'blog month' and the blogger who directs the most attention to the compassion site from their blog wins a blog trip assignment!!  This has been a dream of mine for years because it combines two of my passions - writing and advocating for the poor.  i would have the opportunity to travel to another country to see firsthand the work that compassion is doing and then blog about my experience...amazing!

and the really cool thing is...if you decide to help out with this you won't just be making my dream come true...you'll be making a lot more little dreams come true too for all the kids who receive new sponsorships!  so click on the below link and check out the precious faces of the waiting kids...maybe you will find one that your family would like to 'adopt'.  {and who knows...maybe i will win the trip and get to visit some of our sponsored children!!  can you tell i'm excited?!?!}
click here to visit the kids over at compassion and help me win a blogging trip with compassion!
and feel free to share the link to this blog post on facebook, twitter, blogs, a billboard...however you can get the word out!  let blog month begin!