Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

“What is he doing here!”

“Is it Jake again? What is he thinking?”

The words were a harsh whisper from across the darkened room. Surely there could be no question it was Joseph’s red convertible coming down the winding back road to the ranch.

“I think Father suspects something.” Garret said, his eyes unfocused as he stared into the night sky. “Its not the first time he has sent jerk-boy to check up on us.”

“He’s going to get us killed, if he keeps this up.” Ricardo’s eyes glinted in the moonlight coming through the loft windows. “Get down there and try to wave him in. If we’re lucky, maybe Jose has yet to arrive.”

When Garrett didn’t move, Ricardo whipped around to glare at him. Slapping the stock of his rifle against his palm, he ordered, “Move! I’ve got you covered.”

“Alright, alright. I was just thinking we could let Jose take care of him.”

Dark eyes narrowed as Ricardo considered the notion. Wicked as it was, it would serve their purposes this night. Jose’s demands were a problem with no good solution and jerk-boy—well, there was no good solution for him either.


This is the opening of the novel I am working on during NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve never heard of it, yes, the goal really is to write a novel within one month’s time—or at least 50,000 words toward that goal.

I pounded out 5,154 words this weekend and have achieved 10% of my goal, so I am pretty excited to hit my first target.

I have had this story kicking around in my head for close to a year. It has taken this writing challenge for me to commit the words to paper. With NaNo, I have a daily goal of 1,666 words. A bite sized chunk. Writing a book sounds like crazy volumes of work, but 1,666 words—I can get my arms (or in this case, fingers) around that.

You can follow my progress, along with my writing buddies, in the blue box labeled 2014 NaNoWriMo at the top right of this screen.

The seven of us are praying that all of our 350,000-plus words will be For His Glory— All prayers welcomed!

Have you ever struggled to reach a goal? What tools have you used to accomplish your goals?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Walking Wounded

“I’m not able to go,” Jeanie said. “My husband doesn’t want me to drive that far.”

Karen could not believe her ears. Is she really using that excuse?
“Not your usual part of town, eh?” Karen snapped.
“I guess I don’t venture very far from home, especially after dark,” Jeanie’s words came slowly as she considered Karen’s raised eyebrow.
“Well, if that’s the best you can come up with, I won’t try to talk you into it.” Karen stomped away.
Jeanie stared after her friend. What did I say?
In a recent blog post, Jeanie Jacobson wrote about the happy resolution to her “strappy sandaled foot- in-mouth experience.”

Her story got me thinking about when the opposite happens and what’s intended as friendly conversation ends with someone offended.

Could my fictionalized version of Karen be sensitive about where she lives? Maybe she was teased for growing up in a poor neighborhood, or maybe she imagines Jeanie’s fancy neighborhood makes her look inferior.
Life is a bumpy ride and we tend to pick up bruises along the way. If we haven’t asked God to heal them, we may be among the “walking wounded.” 

Like furniture that jumps into the path of a recently stubbed toe, the Walking Wounded can be hurt in unexpected ways.
When you get a reaction that seems out of place, you have likely bumped into a spiritually sore toe. 

How can we help our wounded friends?
  1. Pray. Ask God for insight. He knows what the issue is.
  2. Give grace for the unknown issue that God is working out in their life.
  3. Forgive them. If you were offended by their response, the ball is now in your “forgiveness court.”
  4. Say you’re sorry—even though you don’t understand why they are upset. Don't raise the issue of their inappropriate response. Just tell them, “I’m sorry what I said (did) upset you. I never want to hurt you. Please forgive me.”
  5. Thank God for uncovering the hidden wound and starting them on the road to healing. 
Your response of grace may well be the seed that brings God’s healing to their wounded heart.

What do you do when you recognize yourself as one of the Walking Wounded? 
Generously apply steps 1-5 to Yourself: 
Give Grace
Say you are sorry
Praise God

(Rinse and Repeat as necessary.)

God has a plan for your life and His plan is for a full, abundant life! (John 10:10)


(Check it out: Our forgiving friend, Karen Cameron has a recent post on this site, entitled “Let it go”).

Have you had a Walking Wounded moment yourself? Have you ever been surprised by a friend's response?

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Forgiving Myself?

Regret: A feeling of remorse for a fault or wrongdoing.
Remorse: Deep and painful regret for wrongdoing.

For years, I felt guilt over my son’s handicap. Brad was born in a small town hospital and after hours of pushing, he came out black and blue—like a cone-headed prize fighter. He had been through a battle and I later decided it was this battle that caused his brain damage.

Our understanding of his condition came in dribs and drabs. When he was a year old, a visiting relative told us something was wrong and we needed to take Brad to a specialist. That doctor said, yes, he has developmental delays but he will catch up. It took years before we understood Brad would not be “catching up.”

Periodically I would question every decision related to my pregnancy. Why hadn’t I stopped pushing when my labor didn’t progress?” Twenty miles away, the city hospital had all the fancy monitoring equipment lacking in our small town hospital. Why hadn’t I gone to the doctor who delivered babies in the city?” I was sure things would have been different if only I had made better decisions.

Years later, I expressed those same regrets during a prayer meeting. My prayer partners immediately called this out as “false guilt.” “If hours of pushing really did cause brain damage, the doctor was responsible, not you.” They advised me to renounce satan’s lie. Amazingly, years of guilt and shame fell away. I had only done what Mother Nature told me to do. I was not responsible for my son’s handicap.

I had never said those words to another human being—not even to my husband. But once spoken, the truth could be revealed. Like nighttime monsters hiding under the bed, the lie was enormous in the dark. But under the light of truth, it shriveled up and disappeared.

Satan loves to twist God’s truth into an ugly knot of torment. All it took was a hint of guilt on my part for satan to back up the “guilt truck” and dump a full load on me. This is why it’s so important to speak our thoughts out loud to someone else.

Our words, even the words we think, have power. I spoke words renouncing the lie and from that moment on, it has had no power in my life. The reality of my son’s disability has not changed. But while I still have moments of grief, I no longer feel guilt or shame. I am free to celebrate all that God has done in and through the miracle of our son’s life.

And while I count myself blessed to be amongst the forgiven, the guilt that was never mine to carry, has been crossed off the list.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for your revelation of truth in our lives and ask that you help us recognize every lie so we can all walk in freedom.

Have you ever felt like you couldn’t forgive yourself? Have you ever suffered under “false guilt?”

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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Inocence of (My) Man

Brad can't tell me whether you are a boy or a girl, but put a young woman with blonde hair in the room and you will find him close at hand. Verbalized or not, he seems to have this one figured out.
Brad doesn’t know if you are young or old, gray-haired or not. He does know when you are someone who likes him.

I try not to describe people as fat or thin, but when I ask if they are short like his mom, he can usually report back on that one.

When we went to the Jamie Grace concert, he described her as “the black girl with the yellow dress,” so apparently he does notice skin color.

He doesn’t know it might offend you for him to identify that. He just knows he likes to “jam out” and Jamie gives a great concert.

There is an innocence in not knowing or noticing these things.

Brad notices the person. The soul. The eyes that know him, that recognize him, and are kind to him. 

He sees to the heart  and will steal yours, if you let him.

My Innocent Man

Monday, October 6, 2014

Six Ways to (NOT) Help a Friend

When your friend is dealing with a difficult situation, do you call them? I find myself thinking, “What if they’re tired of talking about it or embarrassed by the attention?” I wonder if delivering a meal is going overboard or if I should just have pizza delivered and stay out of their hair.

While some are more socially skilled than the rest of us, here are a few things I know NOT to do:
  1. Give them advice. The mental roar of annoyance (Who asked you anyway?!) will drown out every word so you never have to worry about whether the advice you give is any good.
  2. Be their conscience. If you think they aren’t listening to God’s voice, step right in and tell them what you think God wants them to know. This is your opportunity to stunt their spiritual growth since they likely no longer want to hear from God.
  3. Tell them about your similar (or different!) problem. This demonstrates your ability to focus on yourself and ignore their pain. Watch for the eye roll here. You will know you’ve been consistent in your approach if you get the official eye roll.
  4. If their problem is you, tell them you are sorry and be sure to explain what they did to cause your behavior. This demonstrates your skill in avoiding responsibility and is a surefire way to end most relationships —which means you will never have to apologize again!
  5. Discuss their problem with someone else. This almost always gets back to them and people love to be famous. I promise you will never be burdened with their secrets again!
  6. Do nothing. This builds confidence in your commitment to them. You will never have to worry about missing their phone call again.

Every situation is unique, but here are a few suggestions you will find more friend-worthy:
  1. Listen. The best gift is someone you can safely vent with. Someone who will listen without judging. I want a friend who will eventually call me up to God’s perspective, but first I may need a willing ear.
  2. If I am upset with you, I just need to hear, “I’m sorry.” Anything else subtracts from the power of those words.
  3. Do Something. Call me. Invite me to lunch. Bring me a Latte. When you give the gift of time, it means everything.
  4. Say Something. Anything. Even if it is lame, it is better than pretending nothing is wrong.
  5. Encourage me. Give me ideas. Offer to brainstorm with me. Remind me, this too shall pass.
  6. Pray for me. I find nothing compares to the comfort of being prayed for. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.” (James 5:16 MSG) No pressure here – remember Jesus is the only perfect one.

Difficult days come to each of us. One of the ways He delivers help is through our friends and loved ones.

We can be tempted to grow weary and withdraw rather than pursue the one who is struggling. We can ask God to help us be willing to offer the sacrifice of time and energy when we have a friend in need.

God doesn’t promise an easy life. He does promise to be with us every step of the way (Deut 31:8).


What have you found to be the most helpful? What have your friends done that helped you through a tough time? How have you been able to encourage others?

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Let It Go Karen Cameron

Have you ever held an offense in your heart? I have.

I couldn’t let it go. Like a stamp with no glue, I forgave but it just wouldn’t stick. I stewed and grumbled and lost sleep over it. For weeks.

The offences returned each time I climbed into bed. First I counted all the blessings and sacrifices I'd made for her. Then I reviewed the list of how she'd disappointed and offended me.

One day an old memory flashed into my mind. A neighbor's sudden return home took both he and his wife by surprise. He found the contents of their trash can spread out on the kitchen table and his wife logging each item in a notebook.

I knew the LORD was showing me why I couldn’t forgive. Just like that mentally ill woman, I had been documenting garbage and reviewing offences. When I repented, the LORD set me free to forgive.

Now when I am tempted to hold on to unforgiveness, I remember that garbage being cataloged and thank the LORD that He remembers my sin no more (Isaiah 43:25) and forgives me (Mark 11:26).
Sometimes our closest friends are the hardest to forgive. Are you dealing with this right now? What helps you let go and forgive those who have hurt you? 

Karen Cameron lives in Omaha with the love of her life, Ron & their quirky dog, Max. Two grandchildren keep her life filled with love, laughter & time on her knees. Karen has written about the Christian/Jewish connection in a column called Faith of Our Fathers and began writing Biblical fiction several years ago. Karen would love to hear from you at

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Friday, September 26, 2014


I think Jesus wants me to take the fish sticker off my car.

I do not drive like Jesus would and I don’t think He wants my fellow road warriors to think my driving has anything to do with Him.

Jesus would not be in the rush that I’m always in. No time to let you cut in this morning. This jet is on the all important mission of getting me to work less than five minutes late.

I’m quite sure there would be no dashboard conversations with Him behind the wheel. You know the ones that go, “Really?” or “Oh. Come. On.” and “You can’t squeeze forward two feet so I can get through?!”

Can you imagine Jesus honking his horn because you cut Him off in traffic? I can usually congratulate myself for resisting that urge, but there have been times….

I’m finally seeing the reason I need to allow for margin in my life. Yes, it’s less frustrating when I have time to deal with unexpected delays, but that has never motivated me to make the change. Now God is showing me that the lack of margin isn’t just adding to my stress level. It is stealing from my spiritual life, taking me away from His presence. It even leads me into temptation. I am tempted toward anger and complaint when I’m in a hurry.

If nothing comes to me but from heaven (John 3:27), aren’t I just filing that complaint with God? That is one conversation I do not want to have with Him. I don't want to push God away with a complaining attitude. I want to draw near to Him.

I want to be the kind of driver that makes Jesus glad I still have that fish sticker.

Prayer: Lord, my daily habit of rush-rush-rush keeps me from your presence. Help me realize when my attitude is driving your sweet spirit away. Help me seek your presence in every moment of every day. Lord, teach me to build margin into my every life’s breath, so I can breathe your Spirit and walk in your ways. Amen.

Are you challenged by not having enough margin in your life? Everyone has points of stress in their day but if you are stressed by your daily routine, you may be “margin challenged” like me.

For more on finding margin in your life, check out Dr. Richard Swenson’s book, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives

Do you have any pointers to share? What helps you deal with the stress points in your life?

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