A Year of Amazing Grace {with Guest Author, Allison K. Flexer}

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Today, I’m honored to be hosting newly published author, Allison K. Flexer, who also happens to be a member of my online writing group, the Story Circle. While Allison’s book is a gift to the single woman in particular, her message will resonate with anyone who has had a hope deferred or a dream just out of reach. Just as I’ve shared about the crazy times in my family’s life over the past year, below Allison echoes that we can trust God to save the day, even if it isn’t according to our outline and our schedule. Enjoy!

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by Allison K. Flexer

I started writing a book for single women when I was 33 and single. For the next three to four years, I wrote and re-wrote my manuscript. I pitched it to many Christian publishing houses, receiving good feedback but no publishing offers. On the single woman front, I dated a lot of guys. Things never really clicked, but I refused to settle. I felt like time was running out on my dreams, the one about getting married and the one about publishing a book for single women. Continue reading

The Line No One Else is Singing {#InfluenceConf Recap}

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When I was a pre-teen, my music minister dad opened the hymn book and sang out the second, third and fourth lines of notes to me. Ever since then, I’ve been listening for the harmony. Usually, I like to find the line no one else is singing to bring out the fullness of the chord…or maybe just to be original.

As I sat at the back of the Influence Conference meeting room last week during worship time, I kept humming out a harmony only to find it was already taken. When I tried to get in between that line and the melody, I heard voices from other parts of the room singing the same notes.

I couldn’t find a harmony all my own. Continue reading

Homecoming

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Over the trees, the sound of trumpets came to me. Drums bellowed back at mallets punching. Summer days, the marching band played like always. I could hear it from my backyard. Some days it was the sound of war, other days of celebration. I knew something was coming one way or the other.

I hadn’t known if we’d get to keep this house, this town and its music, these neighbors and our walks to school. I hadn’t known if we’d have the money to send my four year-old to preschool, the dream she’s been talking about for two years straight. I hadn’t known whether to plant my garden. But I planted it anyway, there in the backyard to the sound of distant music. Continue reading

Contemplation, Creativity, and Companions by the Sea

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The first time I opened Gift from the Sea, I was pedaling barefoot on the exercise bike in the basement. It’s the story of this stage of my life, I’m circling my legs around in full stride only to realize I’m a hamster in a wheel. I stopped pedaling as Anne Morrow Lindbergh described my frenzied days in pointed poetic lines written half a century earlier. Continue reading

Chicken Soup for the Jealous Soul

Photo by Nate EmbryHow do you feel about secret recipes, that little pinch of special spice that only so-and-so knows to add to get the perfect combination of flavors? Food blogger and author Molly Wizenberg says the idea is ridiculous. “Recipes are by nature derivative: rare is the recipe that springs, fully formed, from thin air, without the influence, wisdom, or inspiration of other prior dishes,” she writes, “Recipes were made to be shared. That’s how they improve, how they change, how new ideas are formed and older ones made ripe.”

I think we can apply that to pretty much any creative pursuit, from cooking to writing to making music. Sometimes we’re guilty of keeping trade secrets trying desperately to make legends of ourselves and maybe that’s supposed to make us happy. But like the story of the Little Red Hen, if a person isn’t willing to lend a hand to see someone else’s idea come to fullness, they’re not going to reap the benefits when the bread is baked.

I remember one literary agent I chatted with said that at certain writing conferences he attended, even in casual conversation out at dinner, authors would zip their lips about their current projects so as not to leak any details that might give their fellow writers an advantage. It’s a lonely career when you see your contemporaries as competition.

Today, I’m looking at jealousy and the staleness it brings to the creative life. Come on over to my friend Charity’s place and try out my not-so-secret remedy, like a little Chicken Soup for the Jealous Soul.

{This post contains an affiliate link for Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, a book I “devoured” for my book club last summer. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, defraying some of the cost of running the blog. The book contains witty and moving stories based around some of Wizenberg’s favorite recipes. Enjoy!}

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