Don’t do it

Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that God won’t come through because of your current (or past) failings. Or that what you have to offer isn’t enough. ~Praying Upside Down Remember this: Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing. Romans 8:38-39 in the NIV reads, “For I am convinced that ...

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PUD book quotes-19Don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that God won’t come through because of your current (or past) failings. Or that what you have to offer isn’t enough. ~Praying Upside Down


Remember this: Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing. Romans 8:38-39 in the NIV reads, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Which is amazing. Wonderful. Right?

But read it in The Message: “None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”

That’s right. Nothing. Maybe today we can all sit back for a moment and let that sink in: There is nothing that can get in the way of our finding everything. Thank You, Lord!


Remember the giveaway I posted a couple weeks ago for those who wrote reviews of Praying Upside Down? First, I want you to know how grateful I am for each one of you who took the time to post a review. It means so much. And second, here are the prizes and the names of the winners. Please email me your mailing addresses so I can get you your prizes!

Where are you?

When I pull farther away from God, His size, importance, and abilities seem smaller. But when I draw in close, He becomes magnified. He becomes everything to me. ~Praying Upside Down   Have you seen this play out in your life? What did you do to draw in close again?  ...

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When I pull farther away from God, His size, importance, and abilities seem smaller. But when I draw in close, He becomes magnified. He becomes everything to me. ~Praying Upside Down


 

Have you seen this play out in your life? What did you do to draw in close again?

 

Look around

Ask God to show you where He is in anything you witness, study, or participate in. Inspiration—creative and spiritual—is everywhere. ~Praying Upside Down Anyone willing to share with the rest of us? Where have you found inspiration lately? What are you reading? Listening to? Learning? Absorbing? Watching? Discovering? It’s not too late to download this ...

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PUD book quotes-12Ask God to show you where He is in anything you witness, study, or participate in. Inspiration—creative and spiritual—is everywhere. ~Praying Upside Down


Anyone willing to share with the rest of us? Where have you found inspiration lately? What are you reading? Listening to? Learning? Absorbing? Watching? Discovering?


It’s not too late to download this June calendar to use as a daily reminder to pray… or to help you pray for something different. It’s free to all blog subscribers!

 

Facing Stories with Kelsey Timmerman

In which I yell at Kelsey and he looks very afraid. Even if that’s not exactly what happened. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one seems to tell its own story. But if you have lots of time, click “play” because we talked about story, and community, and writing the book ...

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In which I yell at Kelsey and he looks very afraid.

Even if that’s not exactly what happened. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one seems to tell its own story.

But if you have lots of time, click “play” because we talked about story, and community, and writing the book Praying Upside Down. And, based on the length of the video, it seems we talked a lot. But it was fun for me—as long as I don’t have to watch or listen to myself. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

Interview, review, and a giveaway

Courtney DeFeo is a friend of my agent, and that’s how we connected, but it seems we have lots in common. One of her creations is Alphabet Scripture Cards, which are pretty cool. Her bio describes her better than I could: Courtney DeFeo believes our kids can light up the world. As a former marketing ...

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Courtney DeFeo is a friend of my agent, and that’s how we connected, but it seems we have lots in common. One of her creations is Alphabet Scripture Cards, which are pretty cool.

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Her bio describes her better than I could:

Courtney DeFeo believes our kids can light up the world. As a former marketing professional, she lives in a constant brainstorm with herself and suspects it’s the route of her migraines. She wants her little light to shine so that her family knows Jesus intimately and others might see His love in the process. She is the creator of ABC Scripture Cards, Light ‘Em Up and Conversation Cups – and author of In This House, We Will Giggle. Her house is a wreck and she hates to cook. She adores her hot, patient husband. She posts entirely too many photos of her girls on Instagram. Connect with Courtney anytime: TwitterWebsiteFacebookInstagram.

I was so happy to be interviewed for her site. Head over there to read our conversation—or leave a comment on the post on her site in order to enter for a giveaway of a copy of my book.


I was so moved by this review of my book, and blown away when I realized the author is 15 years old. I can’t imagine being so…well, amazing…at that age. (Or any other, quite frankly!) I hope you’ll hop over there to read her lovely review and check out the rest of her blog while you’re at it. Besides, you’ve gotta love this pic.

 

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I’m supposed to be a word person, right? So why can’t I find words to describe how it feels to hear other people talk about Praying Upside Down? Why can’t I figure out how to convey my sense of awe? How can I express the humility I feel, coupled with giddy exhilaration that someone got it, that someone heard from God or turned towards Him in a new way? I’ve known all along that if anyone hears God through those words, it’s because God is drawing them, not because I’m anything remarkable. But just to be able to be a part of that process? As I said a whole paragraph ago, I just have no words to describe it. (Apparently, though, I have plenty of words to describe the ways in which I cannot describe it. Go figure.) To all of you who have reached out in some way to share your experience,  T H A N K   Y O U . xo

And now? I’m tired.

After all the build-up, it’s here. Past here, if you want to be technical. Praying Upside Down is officially available everywhere (or nearly so). And has been since May 1. In fact, my girls went to Indianapolis this weekend and decided to swing by the Carmel, IN, Barnes and Noble store to see if they had it. ...

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After all the build-up, it’s here. Past here, if you want to be technical. Praying Upside Down is officially available everywhere (or nearly so). And has been since May 1. In fact, my girls went to Indianapolis this weekend and decided to swing by the Carmel, IN, Barnes and Noble store to see if they had it.

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Not to be outdone, after my son Bobby’s soccer game on Sunday, my husband took me by another store, this one in Plainfield, and guess what we found there?

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I didn’t even have to turn the covers facing out. Some kind employee had already done that for me. I don’t know who it was, but he or she is my favorite person today.

No, actually I have lots of favorites today. I’m just oozing gratitude. Which doesn’t sound pretty, I have to admit. I read comments people had made on a couple of my recent guest posts, and I was struck by how vulnerable they were. Being willing to share their hearts with a stranger. Taking time to send encouraging words to someone they don’t know. Being moved enough by something I wrote that they reach out, wanting to share their experience, their weaknesses, their longings. Sometimes they’re hurt or lonely, sometimes in a place of comfortable companionship with God, and occasionally desperate to find Him.

In all cases, though, they’re hungry for more. I’m overwhelmed by the simple beauty of that. Because that is where we connect. It’s what we share. And it’s what will enable us to find Him. Together. More and more of Him, going ever deeper and deeper. Oh, Lord, continue to draw us to You. Keep our eyes wide open so that we might see You. Amen.

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The book launch party was one of the most fun nights of my life. Before the party even started, my daughter Anna presented us with shirts she had made to celebrate.

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So many surprises—friends from college, from my first real grown-up job, from book club and my prayer group and friends of my parents. So many of my mom’s close friends were there, and every one of them whispered, “Your mom would be so proud of you!”

We had something like 170 people stop by. The only thing that could have made it better was actually having time to talk to those of you I don’t get to see regularly.

book signing collage

Many of you have asked, did my book-signing hand get cramped? The answer is no. I could sign a million more. And I hope I get to.

The big surprise of the night, though, was when the Cool Kids, my phenomenal group of writer friends, walked in. Three of them drove from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Two from Muncie. And one from Greenfield. I did not know they were coming. I know how busy everyone is, and I knew it was a long way to come, so I believed them when messages started trickling in with apologies for having to miss the party.

Big fat liars.

I’m so glad they fibbed. Because that moment when I saw Terri, and Irene, and Joe, and then Sarah walking around the corner?

I may have squealed like a teenage girl spotting Adam Levine. (Actually, this 47-year-old woman might squeal if she spotted Adam Levine, too.) Let’s just say there were tears.

Because these lovely people were the only thing that had been missing from that perfect night.

11143159_852773624809691_7140311110286137327_nHaving them in my life is more than just good fortune or lucky coincidence. God knew how important they would be to me, and every single one of them is a gift to me. They “get” me. Know me. And love me anyway, without reservation.

I definitely hit the jackpot when it comes to friends. So many different groups of people, and all are so open and generous and fun. Not to get all corny and sentimental, but I feel that way about those of you reading this right now, too. I’m so thankful to have found you. You’ve read my words and heard some of my stories. I hope I’ll get the chance to learn your stories, too.


This post is sort of a hodge-podge. Tomorrow you’ll see another guest-post, and over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing some more of those with you. But before I go, I want to share a link to a contest on Facebook to win a $25 Amazon gift card. All you have to do to enter is post a short review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads. Having a large number of good reviews is critical, and it’s one of the best things you can do to help. Even if you don’t do this for me, please, do it for another writer. I’ll even wait while you hop on over there and do it.


 

See? That was pretty painless. Thanks. One last request? Say some prayers for me over the next couple weeks. I have several podcast and radio interviews scheduled and I want to be able to gather my thoughts, be succinct and clear, and actually say something worth listening to. In other words, I want God to shine instead of me. Because as He knows all too well, when I’m left to my own devices, well, it’s not pretty.

Confessions From a So-Called “Prayer Expert”

The lovely Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol and one of the most uplifting, encouraging people I know, is featuring me on her blog today. I wrote about what an inspirational example I am. What a good prayer expert I am. (Or, perhaps, I wrote about how I am the exact opposite of that.) ...

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The lovely Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol and one of the most uplifting, encouraging people I know, is featuring me on her blog today. I wrote about what an inspirational example I am. What a good prayer expert I am.

(Or, perhaps, I wrote about how I am the exact opposite of that.)

Join me over there?

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Whenever someone refers to me as an expert on prayer, I want to laugh out loud. Then I feel embarrassed for being such a hypocrite—after all, I did write a book about prayer. It’s not an illogical conclusion. Yet I’m not comfortable with that praise. Finally, I open my mouth to try to speak—and close it again without saying a thing. Eventually, I usually move forward as though I didn’t hear that comment after all.

Because if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s an expert.

I start to pray in the shower, often making it only as far as “Dear Lord…” before << read more >>


P.S. The book launch party was fabulous and I’ll be posting soon, possibly tomorrow, with pictures and other info :-).

 

 

FINALLY!

So. Tomorrow is the day. So much has gone into this. So much time. So much emotion. I’ve held nothing back. I’ve been thrilled to be able to share my book with some of you earlier, before the official release date. But now? My little bouncing baby book is about to come out into this ...

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booksSo. Tomorrow is the day. So much has gone into this. So much time. So much emotion. I’ve held nothing back. I’ve been thrilled to be able to share my book with some of you earlier, before the official release date. But now? My little bouncing baby book is about to come out into this big, crazy world.

It really is a lot like giving birth. And it holds so many similar fears and hopes. What kinds of people will it encounter? Will it be safe? What will it become? Can it withstand scrutiny? What will it be like when not everyone loves it? When people who are not related to it, who are without any emotional or genetic ties, decide its worth? What happens when I’m not able to shelter it?

Because not only is this my baby, it is my life, my faith, my way of seeing the world. And it’s scary to put that out in such a formal, public manner, to risk criticism. Because it’s so personal, it may be hard for me to separate people who disagree with something, or don’t understand, or don’t care for my writing, from criticism of myself.

My friend Stephanie told me something last week that keeps running through my head. I was incredibly anxious about speaking at a pastors’ conference and she pulled me aside and said this: God already gave you the message. All you’re doing is sharing what He already gave.

In other words, too late for angst. Too late to worry about specific words and stories. It’s time to sit back and keep my eyes open to see what God will do, what people He will reach, what lessons He has for me in this. I’m totally fine with that. Pressure is off. I’m now here prepared to enjoy connecting with people who cross my path… starting with the book release party here in Crawfordsville on Friday, May 1 at 7 pm at the Carnegie Museum! If you’re even semi-local, I hope you’ll come by.


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I’m posting about the release one day early, because I’m going to have lots of guest blog posts to share with you. I’m especially excited that I was invited to post at (in)courage tomorrow, so I’ll be posting that one then. But I’m also really excited today to post at Courtney Westlake’s blog Blessed by Brenna, an amazing blog about an amazing family. Courtney and I share a literary agent and she seems absolutely lovely. Read about some of the things that keep us from seeing God (surely I’m not the only one who stumbles)—and enter to win a copy of my book!


In the meantime, feel free to download a copy of my NEW May prayer prompt calendar. It’s available now.

And now I must go… because TOMORROW IS THE DAY THAT MY BOOK OFFICIALLY RELEASES!

 

 

Simplicity

6 days until my book release! PRAYING UPSIDE DOWN: A creative prayer experience to transform your time with God is coming from Tyndale Momentum on May 1 and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and CBD. Other sites will be available soon....

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PUD book quotes-17

6 days until my book release!

PRAYING UPSIDE DOWN: A creative prayer experience to transform your time with God is coming from Tyndale Momentum on May 1 and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and CBD. Other sites will be available soon.

More

13 days until my book release! PRAYING UPSIDE DOWN: A creative prayer experience to transform your time with God is coming from Tyndale Momentum on May 1 and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and CBD. Other sites will be available soon....

Read More

PUD book quotes-10

13 days until my book release!

PRAYING UPSIDE DOWN: A creative prayer experience to transform your time with God is coming from Tyndale Momentum on May 1 and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and CBD. Other sites will be available soon.

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