What Happens At Ridgecrest Stays at Ridgecrest…Not So Fast!

Friends…they cherish one another’s hopes. 
They are kind to one another’s dreams. 
-Henry David Thoreau

Dee Dee Parker and I arrived a day early to the writer’s conference—not to play, but to work on a beloved project. We’d planned on trying to find a conference room as soon as we reached the campus. After all, sitting on a cushy mattress isn’t the most conducive way to work. Within minutes of arriving, however, God surprised us with a place to meet in the middle, literally. 

On Saturday and Sunday we prayed, brainstormed, took notes, and giggled like girls. I may have even spotted a few bolts of brilliance fly over Dee Dee’s head a time or two. (She’s amazing!)

One night, around 11:30 p.m., we decided to end “lobby time” (where everyone gathers after dark) a little early. We dropped our things just inside the door and patted ourselves on the backs for turning in earlier than normal. It was then the rush of wind took its cue and began to whistle. Trees swayed to and fro, leaning to the side as if to kiss the grass, and dry lightning struck gold. Dee Dee urged me to turn off the lights and take a seat. She on her couch…and me in my chair. There we sat, in the dark, cheering on the storm until close to 1:00 a.m. Oh, what a moment in time!

for the rest of the week, I’ll borrow the Las Vegas line: What happens
at Ridgecrest stays at Ridgecrest. Ha! Let’s just say I’m thankful no
one chose to walk past our window while I was dancing to Barry Manilow’s
Copacabana. (I kept forgetting we were on the ground level!)

(The view outside our window)

Perhaps those few snippets from our week give you a glimpse into why I chose the above quote from Henry David Thoreau to describe my friendship with Dee Dee.

When all is said and done, our writing aspirations may differ in some ways, but we are kind to each others dreams because we know the One who placed them within us—and that alone is something to truly cherish.

Whose hopes are we cherishing besides our own? Are we being kind to each others dreams? 

For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:28

(One of greatest blessings you’ll discover at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference is how eager others are to to join you on the journey. I encourage you to make your plans to join us next year. Hope to see you in the lobby!)

How We Motivate Matters

I’ve never been a fan of motivation via guilt. I guard against “receiving” it and I especially guard against giving it. 

Attempting to make someone behave via guilt may accomplish its short-term goal but it will leave the receiver feeling manipulated, frustrated, and resentful. 

Nehemiah 2:6 says that when Nehemiah approached King Artaxerxes (after much prayer!) requesting a ticket back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall, the King “was pleased to send him.” Aha!

He was willing to release Nehemiah to serve in a different capacity. 

My own church (Summit Upstate) came to mind as the “aha!” moment faded. Last year, I was asked to serve in a certain capacity that seemed to be a great fit — but I had zero peace about saying yes. So I didn’t. And all was okay. I wasn’t made to feel guilty for not “filling a need.” They trusted God to bring the right person, and of course, He did!

I want to be that kind of person. One who “releases” others to simply be. To be who God wired them to be. To be who Christ has freed them to be — regardless if I understand, agree or “get it”. This is motivation via the Gospel — one based on trust.

I don’t have to control. I get to release instead. 

For in him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we are indeed his offspring.”
Acts 17:28

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Actually, that’s not the question.

For me, the question is how often to blog?

In 2008, I shot for a daily post, but recently have tried posting only a few days a week. I applaud those who make this work, but I’m not convinced it’s for me.

Here’s why. When posting several times a week versus a few, my creative radar subconsciously kicks into gear, shifting effortlessly from green alert (low probability) to orange (high probability) in search of a potential post. I find I’m more sensitive to the daily details of what’s happening around me, and most importantly, what is happening within me.

Yes, I could jot down those daily ideas and simply spread them out over a few weeks, but for me, that’s missing the point, which is: the process is of greater value than the results when all is said and done.

This is because every single “alert” is an opportunity to see God at work in the details of my life and those around me. It’s an opportunity to thank Him and to worship—and any time I can increase those moments, I will.

I have a feeling you will too.

“for in him we live, and move, and have our being…” Acts 17:28

– photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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