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Archive for the ‘Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference’ Category

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I began this blog post on a bitter cold day in February. Now it’s mid-March. Still cold, but no snow. Keep reading and you’ll discover why it’s taken so long to post this.

Below is an excerpt from my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers, that was first published in 1990 and is still in print in an expanded edition.

It is a bitter cold February day. As I sit at my computer and look out the window, I can’t help but daydream. A winter storm has encrusted the trees and bushes with a thick layer of ice that glistens in the bright sunshine. Spring seems a long way off. Wistfully I dream of golden daffodils and fragrant lilacs.

My thoughts wander to the vegetable seeds I planted yesterday in window boxes on my toasty radiator. Although they are weeks from sprouting, I’m already thinking how good it will be to have fresh, homegrown tomatoes, peppers, and cauliflower. The ringing of the phone brings me back to the present and, after a brief conversation, back to this blank screen. “Lord, what do you want to say through me?” I ask.

“Bear fruit,” I feel Him speak to my heart.

I sigh. For all my hard work this past month, I don’t feel I have borne much fruit. January’s mail was slow to bring acceptances or checks.

“I feel as if I’ve plowed and planted my garden, but nothing is growing,” I complain. “It’s not that I mind the hard work, Lord. But when am I going to see the fruit of my labors?”

“Have you forgotten what I taught you about abiding?”

I open my Bible to John 15:4 and read: “Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me” (TLB).

I think back over the past weeks and the many excuses I’ve made to shortchange my quiet time with the Lord. It’s no wonder my writing is not bearing fruit. I have been trying to do it in my strength instead of His.

Again the Lord reminds me that my relationship with Him is more important than anything I can do for Him. Then, in a new way, I also see the kind of fruit He longs for me to bear. Far more important than powerful prose or beautiful poetry is the fruit of Christlikeness.

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control,” I read from Galatians 5:22-23 (TLB). I have to admit that sometimes this fruit is sadly lacking in my life.

LOVE for the Lord and my readers is not always my motivating force. Too often I am caught up in the ego trip of seeing my name in bigger and better magazines. When editors do not accept my work, I do not feel very loving towards them.

My JOY is lost when I push myself to get manuscripts in the mail and measure my fruitfulness by the number of acceptances I receive in return. My PEACE is destroyed when I take my focus off the Lord and put it on myself – on my goals, my needs, my feelings.

My PATIENCE wears thin when things don’t happen as quickly as I want and feel they should. Instead of waiting on God and his perfect timing, I become discouraged and irritable. I say unkind things to the people I love, especially to my children, when they interrupt me when I’m trying to write.

GOODNESS makes me think of Paul’s words about Jesus: “He went around doing good” (Acts 10:38 TLB). Am I “doing good” through what I write? Using Lee Roddy’s acrostic, BERT, do my words really Benefit my readers? Do they Enrich them? Are they Relevant and Timely?

FAITHFULNESS. The Bible assures me that “the one who calls [me] is faithful” (1 Thess. 5:24 NIV). Therefore, I do not have to become consumed by the dollars and hours part of my writing – by the little I earn for the long hours I work. Instead, I can choose to trust His promise to supply all my needs (Phil. 4:19) and to remain faithful to my call to write His answer.

GENTLENESS, I learn as I look at the original Greek meaning of the word, is not just the way I treat others. The NIV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament translates it as “meekness.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says, “It consists not in a person’s ‘outward’ behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men. . . . It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting.” In other words, instead of almost demanding that God “bless” my ministry, I must surrender my desires to Him. I need to follow Jesus’ example and remember how He took on “the very nature of a servant, . . . humbled himself and became obedient to death” (Phil. 2:7-8 NIV).

SELF-CONTROL makes me think of discipline and my need to take control of the hours in each day, as well as my thoughts, feelings, and actions which often defeat me. I can choose to dwell on the positives and not procrastinate. Most of all, I can choose to relinquish control of my life to the Lord every day and trust Him to work in me and through me.

“Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches,” I feel Him speak to me again through his Word. “Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit” (John 15:5 TLB). He doesn’t say when, but He also doesn’t say maybe. Instead, He gives me the conditions. I must deliberately choose to abide in Him and submit wholeheartedly to His pruning of my motives and goals. I must take care to stay close to Him – to let Him live in me. Only then will my life and my words bear fruit.

Click here for a free Bible study, “Bear Fruit.”


Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull is a “must-have” resource for any writer. It offers the perfect balance of practical tools, personal honesty, and insightful passages of Scripture. I was inspired by her wisdom and challenged to answer God’s call to write in authentic, life-changing ways. Write His Answer will help you solidify your calling and get to the root of insecurities may writers face.
Angela Donadio
Recording Artist, Blogger, Author
http://www.angeladonadio.com

For 30 years Write His Answer has encouraged writers. An autographed copy is available for only $10 plus shipping. Click here. You can save the cost of shipping by ordering $35 from the Write His Answer bookstore where you’ll find over 120 writing how-to books as well as the 2021 Christian Writers Market Guide – ALL DISCOUNTED!

Now, to share why it’s taken so long to post. I’ve been working on the 2021 Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conference! Due to the continuing pandemic, out of an abundance of caution we’re going virtual, but both conferences will be highly interactive and virtually amazing. The faculty is almost in place for both conferences. See who is coming by visiting https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com and https://colorado.writehisanswer.com. And save the date!

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Ten and a half years ago we moved to Lansdale, Pennsylvania. As someone has said, “I could write a book” about all ways I saw God at work. The blessing of being within walking distance of our three grandkids on half an acre of land where I can play in the dirt is a dream come true. Sadly my arthritic knees no longer allow me to do much walking, and it’s getting harder to keep 23 garden plots weeded. Yes, I really do have 23 gardens!

Because the coronavirus forced me to cancel the Colorado Christian Writers Conference that would have been held last week, I’ve been able to get my vegetable gardens planted early. Now if only the bunnies and deer do not eat everything . . .

I would have gotten home from Colorado very early this morning. As I’ve often said, I would have hit the ground running because the Philly conference would be just a little over two months away. But not this year! 😦

After directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference for 36 years, I’ve had to make the very difficult decision to also postpone the Philly conference to 2021. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where I live and where the conference is held, is in lockdown until June 4. Even after (if) that is lifted, my daughter who is a doctor says we will still need to stay at home because my husband and I are high risk. And sadly, some of our faculty and conferees who come each year are also high risk. The bottom line – I don’t see how several hundred people can safely distance.

I probably won’t have a date for 2021 until January. My first choice date is July 28-31. Other options are July 21-24 or August 4-7. I hope you’ll pencil them in on your calendar as I have asked the faculty who were planning to come this year to do.

I hope to offer some online clinics this summer. Meanwhile, I want to encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to increase your writing and marketing skills through this HALF-PRICE SPECIAL for MP3s of the 2019 Philly conference.

Download the entire conference(75 sessions)
$262 value!

GPCWC alumni from any year
Only $77 now $38

Non-conferees – $107 now $53

OR

One to six sessions – $4.00 now $2.00 each
Seven or more sessions – $3.50 now $1.75 each

Offer good through May 30

PA residents add 6% sales tax
Price includes handouts if faculty provided them

Available immediately for download https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/2019mp3s

Send check payable to GPCWC to
951 Anders Road
Lansdale, PA 19446
OR
Send payment via PayPal to mbagnull@aol.com

Father, You know the heartache so many are experiencing because of this pandemic that has taken the lives of loved ones and has resulted in the loss of so many jobs. Please give us words to comfort, encourage, and turn hearts to You. Help us not to miss the ways You are “blessing our nest.”

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This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
Psalm 91:2 (NLT2)

I’ve been praying and waiting until the Estes Park YMCA reopened April 7 to decide whether or not to cancel this year’s Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Since daily the pandemic has worsened with no end in sight and I learned that the Y is now closed until April 30, I have finally made the very difficult decision to postpone CCWC to May 12-15, 2021.

It would have been our 24th year on the mountain, but I believe it’s the wisest thing to do since I seriously doubt the CDC will say it’s safe for groups of 50+ (or even 10+) to meet in just a little over six weeks or for folks who are high risk to attend conferences. As for social distancing, I don’t see how that would be possible.

Because of a printing glitch, I have an extra 2,500 brochures for this year’s CCWC. I can easily change the date. So far all the 2020 faculty I’ve heard from are on board for 2021. So please put May 12-15, 2021 on your calendar and bookmark the conference website at https://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

I have prayed about the possibility of offering this year’s conference online, but with the loss of income so many are experiencing I don’t know there would be a strong enough response to cover the cost. Instead, I’m hoping to offer some online workshops throughout the year for a donation of whatever, if anything, you can afford. I’m also hopeful that it will be safe to hold the July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

My husband and I are in our 70s and have invested thousands of dollars in this year’s CCWC that we expected to recoup after all the conference expenses were paid. Would you please help us by considering one of the options below?

Grow Your Writing Ministry

MP3s of my latest seminar plus 20 pages of handouts. Originally $18 plus $3 shipping, but now available for a donation of any amount.

Workshop 1 – Go, Grow & Write through the Hurts
Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him, but He has promised always to be with us. Biblical principles for those times that test and stretch our faith and later become the focus of our writing and speaking ministry.

Workshop 2 – Discover God’s Plan for Your Ministry Is God calling you to write an article, story, or book? Who is your audience? What are their needs? How will you reach them? Should you look for a publisher or go indie? What are the advantages and disadvantages of traditional and indie publishing?

Workshop 3 – You Can Do It! “For such a time as this” God has provided the technology to reach the world with the words He is calling us to write. How to indie publish affordably yet professionally.

Workshop 4 – Think Big Because You Serve a Big God How to cut the old tapes, stop listening to the wrong voices, and accomplish what God is calling you to do.

Books

Write His Answer has an inventory of several thousand dollars of books. I’m glad to let you have them at the price I paid for them plus $4 for postage for one, $6 for postage for two or more. For now here are just a few that I highly recommend:

Christian Writers Manual of Style – This 622 page essential reference book is the Chicago Manual of Style for Christian writers.  Retail, $34.99; my price $22.

Communicate to Change Lives – Written by Jim Watkins, I think this is a book every Christian writer needs to read. Retail, $10; my price $6.

2020 Christian Writers Market Guide – Retail, $24.99; my price $15.24.

Write His Answer: A Bible Study for Christian Writers – The third edition of my book that has been in print for 28 years. It sells for $13.99 on Amazon; for $10 on my website. You can have it for my cost of $2.99, proof that indie publishing is something to seriously consider.

MP3s of workshops from the 2019 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Click here for last year’s brochure to see what was taught, and click here to listen online or download workshops to your computer at 50% off the price noted on the webpage.

CDs from last year’s CCWC.

Click here for last year’s brochure to see what was taught and click here for the order form. Again, you can take 50% off the price.


If you’ve not already downloaded the free MP3s of two workshops I taught last month, I encourage you to do so. They are “The Power of Story – of Your Testimony” and “How to Write Personal Experience Stories.” Click here for more info and the link to access them. One of the gals in my critique group shared her testimony in a letter she sent to all of her neighbors.

Father, please rest Your healing hand on those who are sick and protect our health care workers who are on the front lines. Give wisdom to those working to find a cure and to develop a vaccine. Help us to grow closer to You and to “write Your answer.” Turn our nation back to You.


Trusting in the Lord – Marlene

Some prayer requests:

Please pray for our daughter. She is a pediatrician and is in the office five days a week to hopefully keep children out of the ER. She said children can get covid-19 but not as severely as adults, so she may already have been exposed. She is wearing a mask and gloves and isolating herself in her bedroom when she is home. Because she still could be bringing the virus into their home, we have not been with our grandchildren for 3 weeks. I long to hug them, but we social distance when they come over to walk our dog.

Our son-in-law’s brother is in the ICU with covid-19, and our county has the most infections in Pennsylvania. I can’t imagine the fear folks in New York City and other hot spots are experiencing. It does make the need to “write His answer” more urgent than ever.

Please pray for staff/faculty member Darcie Gudger’s dad and mom. Darcie writes, “My dad, Robert Yetter, has been in the hospital for several weeks in Wilkes-Barre Geisinger Wyoming Valley, PA. He isn’t doing well. It’s been a roller coaster of health. Today, he suddenly lost his vision. Pray for a miracle. It’s especially hard during this quarantine time. Mom can’t be with him. She is alone. My sister (in Blue Bell, PA) has to stay home b/c it’s one of the highest concentrations of COVID19. My dad’s business is suffering b/c no one but him can do the billing. Bills are piling up, Mom doesn’t have income. It’s a mess. They love the Lord. My dad even shared his faith with the hospital chaplain who had never heard the gospel before. Pray God will be glorified and that we will be able to see my dad this summer when we come out to PA for GPCWC. Feel free to share with your prayer people. This is a desperate plea to the Lord.”

Please prayerfully consider giving to the YMCA of the Rockies COVID-19 Sustainability Fund. They are good people. See the difference they are making at https://blog.ymcarockies.org/ymca-of-the-rockies-gives-back/ and click here for an impressive overview of what they did in 2018.

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God is our refuge and strength,
a tested help in times of trouble.
And so we need not fear even if the world blows up
and the mountains crumble into the sea.”
Psalm 46:1-2 TLB

It’s been almost a week since our daughter told us we should not leave our home because we are both high risk. She did our grocery shopping and left the bags on the back porch. Deb is a physician, so even though this seemed drastic, we listened. Given the spread of covid-19 (the county we live in now has the highest number of cases in Pennsylvania) and the national emergency that has been declared, I’m grateful.

As schools close around the nation and daily more events are cancelled, I’ve wondered what to do about the May 13-16 Colorado and July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. I honestly don’t know. Right now all I can do is pray and wait and see.

I have assured those on Colorado’s faculty that I will understand if they feel they need to cancel. Of course, the same is true for conferees who have already registered. I will refund anyone who feels it is not wise for them to come. The faculty and program is not yet finalized for the Philly conference.

Although I certainly hope and pray summer will bring an end to the virus, at least through the end of March I’m not going to focus on the conferences but instead invite you to join me in the following:

Pray, and not just tomorrow, Sunday, March 15, that President Trump has declared a national day of prayer. Pray daily for local, state, national, and world leaders that they would make wise decisions; for those who are ill with covid-19 and their caregivers; for medical scientists to develop an effective treatment and vaccine.

Pray much for others.” 1 Timothy 2:1 TLB

Balance time reading and listening to the news with digging into God’s Word. Of course, it’s important to stay informed, but if we pay attention only to what the world is saying and not to how God will speak to us through His Word, we’ll add to the panic that also threatens to become pandemic.

The whole Bible “is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.” 2 Timothy 3:17 TLB

Encourage others through posting on social media words of reassurance and hope from the Scriptures.

Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:7 TLB

Use the gift of words Father has entrusted to you to write blogs and posts to encourage readers to trust the Lord during this time of uncertainty.

Encourage each other to build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 TLB

As your daily routines are disrupted, ask the Lord, “What do You want me to do today?”

Make the most of every opportunity you have for doing good.” Ephesians 5:16 TLB

Friends, let’s rest in the fact that none of what is happening has surprised the Lord or made it impossible for Him to intervene.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT


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Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him, and he will respond to us as surely as the coming of dawn or the rain of early spring.

Hosea 6:3 TLB

Spring is still nine days away, but my daffodils are almost ready to pop. Lifting their heads to the warmth of the sun they are not bound by the date on the calendar that says it’s not yet spring.

Father, I want to be like my daffy daffodils and respond to the warmth of Your love and the assurance that even in the midst of the coronavirus You are with me and have a plan.

This morning I loaded Barb Haley’s incredibly helpful charts of editorial needs and areas of expertise on the website for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. You’ll find them by clicking on the links at https://colorado.writehisanswer.com/facultymarkets.

You’ll find about 9 other charts on the website as well as specific info for each of our 55 faculty members.

I’m continuing to prepare for the Colorado conference and trusting that by May we will have seen an end to this virus. Should it continue to spread and restrictions are placed on travel and large gatherings leaving me no choice but to cancel the conference, I will, of course, refund registration fees. But let’s pray that the conference will not only take place but be even more anointed and life-changing than the past twenty-three CCWCs.

I’m continuing to finalize the faculty and program for the July 23-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and hope to open registration April 15.

Meanwhile,

Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives, for this is your responsibility and privilege as members of his body. And always be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 TLB)

And, Father, help us to press on to know You and to dig deeply into Your Word so that we will be better equipped to “write Your answer.”

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I love surprises! But waiting has never been the part I love. I’d beg my mother to give me a hint – just a little hint. I didn’t want her to totally give away the surprise. That would spoil the fun of wondering what the surprise might be.

I remember one Christmas when my curiosity got the best of me. I hunted through all of my mother’s favorite hiding places until I finally discovered the tiny outfits she had made for my Ginny doll while I was in school. Christmas morning just wasn’t the same.

When someone tells me a secret and makes me promise not to tell, I have to bite my tongue. Although I’m busting to tell, a promise is a promise.

But when I’m in control, when I’m the giver, keeping a surprise a secret is part of the fun. I love being a tease and getting the eager recipient to play guessing games. I remember the time I had my children squirming in the back seat trying to figure out where we were going. Their squeals of excitement when they discovered the surprise was a puppy is a memory I treasure.

Even more exciting are the times when I surprise myself by accomplishing something I didn’t think I could do. Like the first time I overcame my fear and sang a solo in church. Or the first time I gave a day-long writers’ seminar. Just before the last session, my voice was gone. I remember desperately praying for help. And Father answered. My voice returned and was stronger than at the beginning of the day. That really was a needed surprise and a miracle since I did not have a microphone.

Just this week I surprised myself by beating a self-imposed deadline. I think it was a first! If you were with me online on Tuesday for the workshop I presented on Patricia Durgin’s Facebook Live Marketers on a Mission Summit, you were the first to know that registration for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference is open. I beat my February 1 deadline by four days!

You can view the workshop, one of my favorites – The Power of Story, Turning Personal Experiences Into Print – by clicking here. Presenting a workshop online via Zoom was another first for me. The amazing technology even enabled me to use my PowerPoints. Another surprise was that I could figure out how to do it, but Patricia is a good teacher!

Just as I enjoy giving and receiving surprises, I believe our Heavenly Father receives even more joy in surprising us with blessings. He wants our lives to be an exciting adventure of discovering the surprises He has for us when we put our trust in Him.

This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise,
God handling all the details.

Ephesians 3:7 MSG

I hope you’ll visit the website for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Everything has been updated except for the conference brochure and Barb Haley’s amazing charts. Wow! That’s another surprise. I’m about a month ahead of last year! Thank You, Father!

I want to encourage you to register early. If you’re among the first 50 to register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (we offer optional early bird workshops on Wednesday afternoon), you’ll receive a bonus appointment for a total of SIX free 15-minute appointments with the faculty of your choice based on availability.

Obviously, by registering early it is much more likely that you’ll get your top choices. You won’t be able to request your appointments until the charts of editorial needs, areas of expertise, and availability for paid critiques are online, but as long as you get your requests to us by April 15 and are paid in full by then, you’ll get preference based on the order in which you registered. Sounds complicated? It really isn’t, and we’ve got lots of how-to info online under Appointments to help you understand our system, make the best choices, and be prepared to get the most out of the time you’ll spend one-on-one with our faculty.

Plans are also surprisingly well underway for the July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. The conference is back to a full three days and begins Wednesday evening with a keynote by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Yes, I love surprises! What about you? Have you recently been surprised by a blessing you didn’t see coming or by something Father enabled you to do that you didn’t think was possible?

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Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, but I confess it’s often sadly lacking in my life. Especially when it comes to learning new technology (or trying to), patience is not something I possess. Knowing that patience grows through testing, I admit that I avoid praying for patience. It’s easier to simply give up!

Hasn’t the technology that is part of day-to-day living gotten ridiculously complicated? I got a new smart phone, but it makes me feel dumb! I purchased a book (of course, since I’m a writer). But seriously, did I really think I would take the time to read 697 pages? iPhone the missing manual does have a good index and lots of illustrations, but I’m impatient. I don’t want to take time to study a manual. I want to immediately be able to use my iphone. After all, it’s supposed to be “intuitive.” Well, maybe for some.

Then there’s the daily challenge of wrestling with my computer. Instead of thanking God for all it enables me to do, I waste valuable time grumbling when I could and should be tackling the learning curve.

But today I made up my mind to stop moaning and groaning about HTML, HyperText Markup Language. It’s known as “the most basic building block of the Web.” Just the name makes me feel hyper, but it’s something I’ve known I need to learn to more effectively manage my four websites. So today I finally got started on a Udemy course, “HTML, CSS, Bootstrap.” It took some searching because I purchased it over a year ago. (Yes, I also struggle with procrastination!)

Amazingly I somehow had the patience to get through the first 14 lessons. (I didn’t pray for patience, but I did ask Father to “Please show me how to do this.) I’ve still got much to learn, but it was enough to enable me to copy, paste, and revise some bootstrap code (something else I need to learn) in the website for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

It took all afternoon, but I’ve now got bootstrap working to display two photos and text on the top of the Continuing Session page that will adjust to all different size screens. Thank You, Father!

Like a kid in a candy store or with a new toy, I’m revising the bootstrap code to add pictures throughout the website. Check out the Continuing Sessions page by clicking here. The eight sessions are all in place and I’m excited. (The link is not yet available through the menu at the top of the page. That’s a challenge for another day!)

The learning curve is not just something I need to grin and bear when I’m dealing with technology. It’s a key to my growth in all areas of my life – personally, professionally, and spiritually.

Study [learn and keep learning]
to shew thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

For those who seek to serve the Lord through the ministry of writing there is also a learning curve. And it can feel really steep. That’s why we need to “encourage each other to build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11 TLB). And it’s why I’m directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for the 24th year and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference for the 37th year. Someone has said they are the equivalent of a semester’s course in college. I doubt my first book would have ever gotten in print had my pastor not sent me to the St. Davids’ Christian Writers Conference over 40 years ago.

Father, You know how easy it is to get frustrated and discouraged by the learning curve. Forgive us, forgive me, when I grumble rather than trust You to help me do what feels impossible. You are so faithful!

What difficult task, that you’ve been putting off, do you need to tackle?

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Today is my birthday! Turning 75 is one of those sobering birthdays like my 40th. Hard to believe I’ve lived 3/4’s of a century!

A friend sent me a link to this hilarious video. What a wonderful example of creativity.

Happy Birthday, by Beethoven? Bach? Mozart? – Nicole Pesce on piano
https://bit.ly/2QJYBPX

I can only play simple melodies (sometimes in two-parts) with my right hand. But He’s given me – and YOU – other gifts. In fact, His Word promises in Ephesians 4:7 (TLB):

Christ has given each of us special abilities—
whatever he wants us to have
out of his rich storehouse of gifts.

Do you believe it? And if you do, are you using the gift(s) He has given you to further His Kingdom?

One day all those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will stand before Him. I have no doubt one of the questions He will ask us is, “What did you do with the gift I entrusted to you?”

I have invested 37 of my 75 years in directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (24 years directing the sister “Write His Answer” conference in Colorado). Each year there are more challenges – not, I believe, because I’m “over the hill” but because the evil one knows his time is short. My purpose continues to be

to encourage and equip writers
in all stages of their journey to write about
a God who is real, who is reachable,
and who changes lives
.

Father has given me the special birthday gift of enabling me to have the faculty in place for the May 13-16 Colorado conference. Last year at this time because of my husband’s fall and long recovery I had just begun planning. Our faculty includes 3 agents, 20 editors, 17 authors, 9 other professionals, and 10 staff. Nineteen are new to CCWC; 6 were not with us last year. You can see who is coming at https://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

About half of the faculty is in place for the July 22-25 Philly conference. See https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com. Wednesday evening Liz Curtis Higgs will launch the conference by keynoting. Then, new this year, will be a full day of workshops on Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday.

If you’re not able to come to Colorado or Philly, I encourage you to check out the other Christian writers conferences around the nation. I believe attending a conference is the best investment you can make in your writing ministry.

You’ll find a list in the 2020 Christian Writers Market Guide. I have copies available at a discount (click here) or you can subscribe to the online edition. It really is a must-have resource as is a subscription to The Christian Communicator.

But the most important thing you can do to grow your gift is to grow closer to the Giver. In this new year I urge you to dig into His Word more deeply than ever. How else can you “write His answer”?

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It was one of those mornings! Multi-tasking (as always) I cracked two eggs into a pre-heated pan. I don’t waste time watching eggs fry or pots of water boil. Instead, I reached for my tray of pills, removed the lid, and somehow knocked it (the very full tray, not the lid) on the floor.

Knowing that our two-year-old Labradoodle (she has yet to grow up) eats everything but her monthly heartworm pill, my husband and I tried to get her to go outside. She thought it would be more fun to play catch-me-if-you-can. As usual, I had to give her a treat to get her to do what I want. (Yes, I know I’m rewarding her for bad behavior.)

Paul got two garden kneelers from the garage. I grabbed a flashlight and managed to get down on the kitchen floor. (My arthritic knees are bone-on-bone and one has been swollen for a week.)

The pills, of course, had rolled everywhere. I remembered the pick-up stix game I played as a kid, but this wasn’t a game and it wasn’t fun!

Paul is now vacumning the floor and then will give it a much needed scrubbing. (It was scary to see at eye level just how dirty my floor is.)

So . . . “give thanks in everything”?
Yes, “for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thess. 5:18 KJV

Now, I don’t think it is His will that bad things happen. And I don’t think He expects me to thank Him for my carelessness or the dumb and often sinful things I or others do. But in the midst of frustrating, annoying, and even awful circumstances I can choose to thank Him for being with me and for His promise to work all things together for my good.

Even when we are too weak to have any faith left,
he remains faithful to us and will help us.

2 Tim. 2:13 TLB

Now dumping a bunch of pills on the floor isn’t a biggee when it comes to my faith. But Father did use it to teach me, yet again, to give thanks.

  • Thank You, Father, for the availability of medicine and the wise new primary care doctor You have led us to.

  • Thank You that this new doctor discontinued three medications that were obviously causing my husband to be confused. (After almost a year of health issues since Paul fell and broke three bones September 30, 2019, I am so thankful He is much better.)

  • Thank You for my wonderful husband and our 56th wedding anniversary we celebrated November 9.

  • Thank You for calling and enabling me to direct the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and for the progress I’m making planning next year’s conferences. (Colorado is May 13-16; I don’t yet have a date for Philly. I’ve asked for July 22-25 or August 5-8.)

  • YES, thank You for every thing!
And yes, I’m grateful for our strong-willed puppy!

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