Ready to Head to the Mountains? I Have Just the Book For you!

Pauses Mountain CoverAre you ready to head to the mountains?

With summer fading and hopes of autumn just around the corner, I thought it would be the perfect time to share about my new book, Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains, set to release Tuesday, September 19.

When the idea for writing vacation devotional guides emerged, I admit the beach is where it all started, but the mountains quickly followed.

There has always been some type of draw to the mountains way down deep in this old soul of mine. Maybe it’s because my mom’s parents loved the mountains and took us there for roadside picnics by the river. Or maybe it’s because we had a five-acre parcel of land that sat at the foot of a mountain that we visited most weekends while growing up that makes me love them like I do.

All I know is that the draw to be closer to the mountains was so strong that the creature of habit within me took a giant step back and allowed a sometimes-friend, adventure, to step forward and move us away from all we’d known for the past twenty plus years⎯friends, church, our century-old home, comforting backroads, and the Ice Cream Station. Don’t judge.


There is just something about being near to the mountains that make us feel closer to God.


The sheer height reminds us of the mightiness of our God while the pristine nature surrounding us woos our heart to Him like a first love. Breathing in the sweet crisp air invigorates our senses, giving us clarity of mind, a sometimes difficult commodity in our busy culture.

Pauses for the Vacationing Soul // Mountains is designed for a one week vacation but it can also be used for weekends or even a single day trip, with all seasons represented. Each day invites you to draw closer to God through a brief personal story, a scripture verse, devotion, and a sensory exercise. And did I mention Edie Melson is writing the foreword? Pauses is a prayed-over, Spirit-led, and a beloved little book I trust God will use for His glory in beautiful and unexpected ways.

Blue Ridge Mountains

I would LOVE for you to be a part of the God-Lovin’ Mountain-Goin’ Launch Team! (It doesn’t require as much time as you might think.)


  • Read: Because the book consists of seven days you could choose to read a devotion every day if you like. The sensory exercises could be set aside for your own vacation in the future, which helps to cut your time significantly. You would have three weeks to read it.
  • Review: I’m learning just how priceless reviews are for any book on Amazon. Your agreeing to leave a review on the launch day is THE most vital part of your commitment. I will keep you updated along the way.
  • Share: On launch day and for a few weeks afterward, I ask that you share the book on your social media platforms. If you only do Facebook, that’s fine! No pressure here — share where you feel comfortable. If you have a blog, I would welcome the opportunity to guest post (just another way to share). I’ll have pre-made tweets and Facebook postings on my site. You need only click to share! I’m all about saving you time.
In return, I will joyfully do the following:
  • Send you a FREE PDF copy of the book.
  • Mention your name in the book.
  • Mention your name on my site’s book page, along with a hyper-link to your site (I reserve the right to decline this offer, if necessary)

If you would like to be a part of a project that inspires and refreshes while drawing readers closer to God as a result, here’s an opportunity! Thanks to those of you who have already contacted me saying you would love to join the team. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me!

Want to be on the God-lovin’ Mountain-Goin’ Launch Team? Please email me via the button in the sidebar or leave a comment. I’ll be in touch — thank you!

Above all, I welcome prayer from you, my friend. Self-pubbing is not for wimps and although I’ve never considered myself to be the bravest, I feel I’ve wratched up the ol’ survival skills scale this year but I still have a ways to go.

You’re the best and I thank God for you⎯often.

“One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.” -John Muir

Rousing Your Spiritual Gift from Sleep

by Cathy Baker

Sometimes they’re obvious. Sometimes not. But they’re always fueled by the Holy Spirit and burn with divine intensity.

Spiritual gifts. 

A quick testimony. For years I’ve used my spiritual gifts both inside and outside the church walls. I’m sure you have as well. 

When I recently accepted an opportunity at our awe-some church to help with communication needs, something unexpected happened. A part of me that had crawled into hibernation several years ago began to emerge with a skip to its step.

Questions arose within. Why am I feeling more fulfilled lately? What’s with this surprising spark of joy? Why do I now sense more of an ownership at Summit Church? 

Driving home from staff one day, the answer surfaced: Spiritual gifts. 

By re-engaging my gifts and creative energy, I felt a deeper sense of ownership, not only to Summit but to the Church as well. Few things rally the fulfillment felt by those who employ their God-given gifts for His glory.

If you’re struggling to feel connected in your church, or if you find yourself devoid of a spark that once burned with intensity, could it be that you’re not engaging your spiritual gift(s)?

I pray God’s whisper will rouse it from its sleep and surprise you with its joy. 

Inhale deeply
Some are front and center while others are quietly performed but every divine-empowered gift possesses the potent scent of life-giving, unifying, God-glorifying goodness. 

So, how about you? I’d love to know your spiritual gift(s). To God be the glory! 

[Note: This morning I’m having outpatient surgery so I will respond to your comments but it may be a day or two late. Thank you for sharing them!]

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6


Will You Finish Well?

Finishing well was yesterday’s topic during Jason’s sermon (which you’ll want to listen to here when posted mid-week.) Later that afternoon at lifegroup, we were asked to share the name of someone we know who finished well. Almost everyone in the room mentioned a grandparent. It was a vivid reminder to those of us who are grandparents (and those who will be in the future) of how important it is to finish our walk well—strong—to the glory of God. 

Our decisions today have the potential to impact not only our children, but our grandchildren, and generations to come. Some we will never know. 

I thank God for the grandparents He gave me. Each of them finished well and their example spurs me on to do the same.  

To God be the glory.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, 
I have kept the faith. 
2 Timothy 4:7

Who comes to mind when you think of someone who finished well? 



God’s wonder meets all humanity at dawn, but we often sleep through it unaware. This morning set your alarm to awake before sunrise. You can check online to find out what time the sun will poke its head above the horizon where you live. Before you nod off to sleep, ask God to reveal himself to you in a meaningful way in the morning. As you awake and watch, pay attention to the first shafts of light. Observe the softness of dawn, the hues of the sun’s first rays, the illumination and beauty all around you. Lamentations 3:22-23 says the Sunrise Maker’s loving-kindness “is new every morning.” 

Spend some time reflecting on how God has displayed this truth not just in the sunrise but throughout your life. Let the wonder of God’s creation break through your soul like the morning’s first rays. And don’t forget to thank God for meeting you this morning. 

-Margaret Feinburg, Wonderstruck

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

Sunday Snippets – The Why of Obedience

Welcome to Sunday Snippets!
Jason Malone brought a timely message from Galatians 5:1-15 this morning. As with all Snippets, I try to jot down everything
verbatim, but it’s not always possible.To listen to the sermon in its
entirety, I invite you to visit Summit’s site. 
As we know, Galatians was written to Christ followers, reminding them that anything added to the Gospel of Jesus Christ results in slavery.
  • Some confuse the Gospel for spiritual milk, believing it to be a necessity for new Christ followers only, but we never outgrow the Gospel. It’s just as critical for new followers as those who’ve walked with Christ for many years. We never “move on” from the Gospel. 
  • Only one leads to true freedom: Gospel transformation (motivated by love) and moral reformation (behavior modification).
  • The “why” of our obedience is everything, as is seen in Charles Spurgeon’s The Tale of the King, the Carrot, and the Horse:
upon a time there was a gardener who grew an enormous carrot. He took
it to his king and said, “My lord, this is the greatest carrot I’ve ever
grown or ever will grow; therefore, I want to present it to you as a
token of my love and respect for you.” The king was touched and
discerned the man’s heart, so as he turned to go, the king said, “Wait!
You are clearly a good steward of the earth. I own a plot of land right
next to yours. I want to give it to you freely as a gift, so you can
garden it all.” The gardener was amazed and delighted and went home
there was a nobleman at the king’s court who overheard all this, and he
said, “My! If that is what you get for a carrot, what if you gave the
king something better?” The next day the nobleman came before the king,
and he was leading a handsome black stallion. He bowed low and said, “My
lord, I breed horses, and this is the greatest horse I’ve ever bred or
ever will; therefore, I want to present it to you as a token of my love
and respect for you.” But the king discerned his heart and said, “Thank
you,” and took the horse and simply dismissed him. The nobleman was
perplexed, so the king said, “Let me explain. That gardener was giving
me the carrot, but you were giving yourself the horse.
  • If we are clothing the poor, feeding the hungry, attending church, or anything else to gain more love, favor, or blessings from the Lord, then we are doing these things for ourselves, not Christ. 
  • Anytime we catch ourselves doing something good, pause for a moment and ask: Did I do that so Christ will love me or because He loves me? 

Today’s snippets don’t begin to do Jason’s sermon justice. It was superb teaching on true freedom in Christ—so much so that I often found myself listening more and writing less. I encourage you to visit the link above and listen to it in its entirety.

Additional reference: Mere C.S. Lewis

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