Category Archives: Musings of a blonde brain

Pruning may be necessary but is never fun <3

As you may remember, I have been blessed to attend some conferences for writers and speakers the past few years. 

My first was She Speaks and out of it this blog was birthed. A couple of years later I returned with my cousin Betty and that was fun and led me to sharing the blog on Facebook. 

Two years ago Russ asked if I wanted to attend another conference and after doing some research I found one in Texas called Declare. I contacted a blogger I met at my first She Speaks and we decided to sign up and room together. 

I share a lot of her wonderful podcasts that she does at The Warrior She. 

The following year, I returned to this conference with plans to room again with Lisa and the added bonus of taking my friend from home, Melanie Brown, who has a fitness ministry. While there we reconnected with a friend of Lisa’s named Shelly Templin. I share a lot of her posts as well because they are wonderful. 

And this is the heart of the Declare Conference. 

To bring women who write and speak and podcast together so we can connect with people who understand the challenges and struggles and temptations and failures and victories and all the technology issues that accompany the call to use words, whether spoken or written, to communicate and encourage others. 

The first conference was held nine years ago and has grown and expanded. The founders have added an online community and a podcast. They have developed Connection groups that meet throughout the year and they have formed a team of leaders who are cohesive and focused and full of energy and ideas. 

They also serve faithfully in obedience. 

And obedience comes with a cost at times.

Because while the annual conference has been gaining steam and could just continue to grow a larger capacity to draw more and more attendees, they have heard the voice of their Shepherd and He is saying…no. 

Next year will be their last conference. 

What they have done with excellence and have improved on and poured into and tended with faithfulness, is coming to an end. 

They will continue in the capacity that God is directing them, but they will no longer host this successful conference. 

This is so in character for the women who lead this community. 

In all the years, they limited the attendance to a number that would allow for fellowship and an intimate and safe environment where we were allowed to gather and worship, talk, learn, encourage and grow. 

In our culture, and even in the culture of the Church, so often we are geared for increasing our reach instead of our depth. 

We ask: How can we get more and more people to come to what we are hosting? 

When maybe we should be asking: How can we best serve the ones You are inviting to come?

Bigger is not always better. 

In the words of founder Eryn Hall, they believe God is not calling them to host a conference any longer and so they are ending it next year on their 10th anniversary. She delivered this message with a beautiful smile…and eyes brimming with tears.  

It would be so much easier to continue doing what has been working…it would be so tempting to keep adding seats and seeking out speakers who would draw a crowd…but it takes courage to listen to God and silence the voices that ask what will people think…to step forward into the unknown even when our hearts are hurting and we have to end something that was so sweet for us and for others. 

In their obedience, I am encouraged again to listen carefully to the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

We who follow Christ are simply vessels of His voice and His touch and His ministry to others in the world. 

We follow Him and His example. 

I think of how Jesus did ministry. 

He moved from town to town. He left crowds unhealed and untouched to move on at the direction of His Father. He was where He was supposed to be, doing what He was supposed to be doing and leaving the 99 to seek the 1. 

He didn’t always act the way the people wanted Him to, or expected Him to and He calls us to the same level of obedience. 

In closing I want to share with you some of the wonderful women I have met through the Declare Community and give you their links to check out. There are a lot of women who are speaking out life and truth in this world in small ways…doing big things for God quietly…promoting Jesus instead of themselves…building places of growth and learning through the technology available to us in these times…so check a few out for yourself:

#1 The Declare Conference is a wonderful event where you can connect with other writers, podcasters and speakers to be encouraged and to build a network for support in fulfilling your calling:

Lisa Wagner shares a weekly 20 minuted podcast featuring women in Scripture and how we can apply the lessons and examples of their stories to our every day faith struggles. She also provides a free downloadable pdf to enhance learning and help you apply the word of God to what she has shared on the podcast

With humor and wisdom, Shelly shares stories that both entertain and instruct.

Shelly also writes frequently for a group that provides love and support for those who have experienced infant loss. You can find this community at

Melanie Brown leads local fitness ministries in the Decatur community as well as provides excellent coaching available online through Faster way To Fat Loss. She is a bundle of joy and energy and just makes me smile. You can find her at

Shontell Brewer has a passion for freeing victims of human trafficking and reaching people of all ages through opening her heart and home…and Taco Tuesdays….she is just fun and wrote “Missionary Mom” and I only met her in person one time in a prayer room at Declare, but she has found a home in my heart. You can find her here

Oh there are so many more…but that’s probably enough for today.

Be blessed.

Be as big or small as God designed you to be and just trust Him with all of it <3

The great ones typically come disguised as quiet and gentle servants <3

We lost another good one this past weekend. Another prayer warrior who slipped quietly into the arms of Jesus. 

He left us after a long and painful surrender to the devastations a stroke left behind and supported and loved by a family and friends and a community who all have stories of how he quietly touched our lives. 

We first got to know him when our John was a young kid in junior high.

He had the divine appointment to be randomly assigned to Curtis that school year under a prayer initiative we used to do. 

Parents signed up their students…people signed up to pray for them…names were paired and letters were sent and our John landed a faithful prayer warrior that never stopped praying for him all these years since. 

Nor did he stop praying for all the other names he received assignments for. 

And he didn’t just pray. He showed up.

For every sport John played all the way through his senior year…and believe me…he played them all…Curtis would show up at at least one game. 

After high school, he followed his activities in college and always knew what year he was in and prayed him through some rough times with health and adjusting to being on his own.

He always knew what job he was currently in, what town he was living in and delighted to hear how he was doing with rec league games now that he’s all grown up. 

When the stroke held him captive and he couldn’t get out and go to games and be out in the community he loved, he signed up to be on the Intercessory Prayer Team and I can tell you right now…there is a void in the battle and we are missing him in the trenches. 

I don’t know of any Scripture that says Curtis will be praying for us in heaven. 

From what I read, Jesus intercedes for us…so thankful for that…but Curtis will be praising God with all the saints.

He did his praying and his showing up and his caring for people and his remembering things because we mattered to him here on earth. 

People are sometimes surprised when we show up at a ball game to see some kid play that we know from church or we attend a concert or a musical because some young person we pray for is in it. 

We learned it from Curtis. 

We remember what it felt like for us and for our son to have someone who didn’t really have to come just show up because he wanted to. 

Well done, Curtis…well done <3

Friday check in <3

We have had a more full week than is even usual for us and I had an early start this morning but writing you is something I have made a habit and so I wanted to at least send out a note. 

As I was driving home last night, I wondered at first if the sunglasses I had borrowed from Russ were playing tricks on me, but after removing them I could see that the soy bean fields are suddenly turning yellow! 

Fall is coming for sure. 

With extra rains and late planting season, we have been surrounded by oceans of green and I don’t know if the local farmers were getting nervous, but it sure didn’t look at all like a harvest might happen any time soon. 

But sure enough, as I drove I could see the beginnings of brown dry leaves on corn stalks and the tell-tale signs of yellowing in the beans and even though it is hotter than blazes and our little ones were playing so hard last night out in the muggy thick heat of 4:00 in the afternoon like we lived on the surface of the sun…the seasons will change. 

Maybe you have been waiting in a season of life that seems to have gone on so long you have decided this is just the way it is going to always be. 

Maybe you have run out of ways to pray and you are tempted to readjust your hopes and expectations and just settle for what doesn’t seem like the promise you were holding to for transformation and restoration….and yes, there are times when the trajectory of life has changed drastically and irrevocably but the hopes and the promises God planted in your heart? 

If He planted them, they will bear fruit. 

It may take longer than you thought or planned for…but if those were from Him…there will be a harvest. 

Just ask the farmers here in God’s country. 

Sow…water…tend…and reap. 

“He who goes out weeping, bearing a trail of seed, will surely return with shouts of joy, carrying sheaves of grain.”

Psalm 126:6

He who has promised is faithful. 

Have a blessed weekend <3

Best Battle Strategy Ever <3

*repost from September 11, 2017…still true for me this morning as we remember those who bravely gave their lives to save others <3

While there are high schoolers who were not even born on that infamous day 16 years ago, I well remember the phone call from a friend asking me if I had the news on.

This was pre-smart phone days when we used wall phones to communicate and one by one, America found out that airplanes full of people had become a new form of weapon.

I remember sinking to my knees on the floor of our family room as the newscasters tried to explain how a plane had just flown into the side of a building, even as they realized another was headed to do the same to the sister tower.

In horror and with desperate prayers to God, many followed the events of that morning.

I do believe the increasingly less effective methods of destruction were in direct answer to the prayers of those around the world as this well-planned attack became exposed.

We have been told that across Maasai-land, our Kenyan brothers and sisters were in prayer for us as well.

Many around the world were interceding for us that day.

There is an enemy that seeks to destroy all that God has created.

And while we often want to put some tangible face to this foe, scripture tells us that our enemy is not flesh and blood.

Yes, the enemy works through people…through ideologies and governments and systems; through terrorists and agendas and despots; through exploitation and greed; through the exaltation of “self”…

I am reminded of the “I will’s” of pride outlined in Isaiah 14:13 – 14…

I will ascend into heaven

I will exalt my throne above the stars of God

I will also sit on the mount of the congregation

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds

I will be like the Most High

Playing God.

A dangerous game for anyone, with tragic repercussions for all.

The hallmarks of such thinking are destruction and devastation and death.

So for our nation today, I pray that we would learn well to remain humbly before the God who blessed this land with resources and with His Spirit.

I pray that we would enter into all warfare under His direction and counsel, availing ourselves of His guidance so freely given to those who seek His face.

I pray for those who still mourn the loss of lives in personal ways, for those first responders who showed true heroism and courage.

I pray for those who still suffer today from the physical and emotional sacrifice they gave to enter into a different kind of battle as they inhaled ash to find survivors.

I pray for those who are today fighting another unthinkable kind of warfare as rains and winds and fires sweep various areas of our nation.

I pray that we would be a nation that recognizes the power of prayer, not only for our own country but for the many many people who suffer around the world.

Devastations of man and nature abound around this globe and many do not have any kind of resources with which to bring aid to their people.

May God’s mercy and grace be poured out over us as we lift our hands to Him and invite Him to come and work in ways that only He can.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and each day this week as we look at what God says about winning battles His way.

Be blessed today in all that you do, as you bless others <3



And when I say random…I mean random….<3

We are experiencing a run of beautiful weather here in God’s country and I have a day at home to accomplish a list of tasks that are penned on the calendar and high hopes to actually finish most of them so it is a good morning for some randoms…in no particular order, of course….


I am starting to put out the Fall decorations and an assortment of mums are beginning to gather on the front porch. 

They are staring down the summer flowers and the fern and it’s a little uncomfortable out there as we wait for the annuals I planted in the spring to depart from amongst us so we can make a nice backdrop for the pumpkins. 

Transition is hard and moving from one season to the next always means some things have to go.

Timing is crucial and being in God’s timing is always best. He never seems in a hurry or rushed so I rather like His rhythm…how about you?


In my devotions this morning, I had several passages about work and how all the “work” we do is as unto the Lord. 

The concept is that we serve God by doing for others because He really doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. 

This is something I tend to forget.

I start my days with a list in my head or on paper or both and sometimes on several pieces of paper and I get so caught up in the list that I forget the reason for the things I do. 

The list becomes my task master and if anything comes along to interrupt my progress in completing the list, I get frustrated and snarky and peevish and all this yuk starts pouring out of me. 

It is a struggle to remember that I started out giving all my efforts and plans to the Lord and my hope was to serve Him in whatever way He deemed fit. 

I try to remember that Jesus wasn’t running around with His nose in a planner.

I rather doubt He was overly concerned about completing a checklist but instead kept His focus on being tuned in to what God’s plan was for each day. 

Yes, sometimes that means staying on task and sometimes it means setting aside the plan and being where I need to be for someone else. 

The only way I know how to live that way is to be in constant, open communication with God and in that choice I have found a more restful and peaceful and productive way of living. 


And when I forget everything I just said in the last paragraph and resort to snarky…I am so thankful for His grace. 


Am I the only one who associates seasonal changes with food?

As surely as summer makes me think of grilled food and salads…fall has me craving pumpkin bread, baked apple anything and savory dishes. 

I’m digging out the cookbooks again and starting to figure out when our schedule will allow for some baking. 


My least favorite housecleaning chore is dusting. 

My most favorite is cleaning the bathrooms. 


Because cleaning a bathroom lasts at least for a half a day or so…dusting mocks me. 

I no sooner lift the dust cloth away from the table top and in the faint rays of sunlight I can see it all just dancing around and making its way back to the surface of whatever table or shelf I just cleaned. 

And that’s my five randoms…I’m outta here and on to the next thing! 

Have a beautiful Thursday and I will check in with you tomorrow <3