Descending into the ravine,
I hike along a well-worn path.

The towering Redwoods forbid the sunlight
from penetrating the tangled mess of branches above.

Thankful for the shade, I continue towards the basin.

The sound of moving water promises a creek awaiting.
Maybe even a modest waterfall.

A bridge leads me to another trail.

Skidding downwards, I land on a stone-bedded bank.

My toes take me to the water’s edge.

I kneel low. Camera poised.

Above. Below.
Across. Beside.

My feet never move, but from every angle, another scene emerges.

The bridge high above.
The trees all around.
The rocks strewn below.
The creek whistling by.

A situation comes to mind.

It’s so easy to convince ourselves
that we have complete understanding of any given situation.

It’s especially gratifying when our select group of friends
have the same interpretation, the same view.

But God is here.

He made the rocks, the trees, the water.

He speaks.

My feet never move, yet every picture I take
preserves another perspective of the same scene.

I am reminded that God’s perspective
is so much greater than our own.

God, forgive us when we convince ourselves that we know best, that we know all. Your ways are higher than our ways. And You see so much more than we see. Whenever we choose to consider a situation from a singular perspective, help us to see with spirit eyes — to see from Your perspective.

His light shines through.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”
~ Psalm 119:18


*Edited from archives. (While attending Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writer’s Conference, I took a walk, and when I reached this spot next to the water, I snapped as many shots as I could in every direction without moving my feet.)


To Go or Not To Go {She Speaks, Allume, and Other Great Conferences}

“I think you should go.” That was all Jeff said.

“But we need a new refrigerator,” I argued.

“The fridge has lasted this long. It can last another year,” he reasoned.

“You can’t know that for sure. What if it stops working altogether? Before next year’s Christmas bonus?”

“We’ll worry about the fridge breaking down when it breaks down. You should go.”

Jeff and I have had this same conversation for a few years in a row.

Last year, it was the fridge. The year before that, it was the transmission in our mini-van. Before that, I can’t remember. But I’m sure it was something.

Whenever I read blogs and hear blogging friends rave about a conference they’ve just attended, I always think, “Maybe next year.”

The truth is, I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually been away from my family overnight. It’s just not that easy to get away. Whenever an opportunity arises, I find myself rehearsing the same lines:

It costs too much money.
And who will care for the kids while Jeff is at work?

So with each passing year, I read about a conference online, and I contemplate which writing sample to submit for critiquing. But in the end, the same excuses win out.

And another year goes by.

Until last year.

I finally attended Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference with my dear friend (and favorite librarian) Liz. And I’m so glad I did. What a privilege it was to spend nearly a week together. We shared a cabin and meals — and we talked late into the night about the things we learned at the various workshops that day.

After returning home, I spent the next several weeks reflecting on everything I experienced. And I knew from then on, I would make every effort to attend more conferences.

So this year I’m attending She Speaks, which focuses on ministering to women through the local church and through speaking and writing. I signed up for the speaker track.

I’m also attending Allume, which focuses on blogging and ministering through social media.

Conferences are not only great learning opportunities, (and Learner is one of my strengths), but conferences are also wonderful opportunities for building memories with old friends and meeting new ones.

If you’re ever looking for a writer’s retreat, I highly recommend the Mt. Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference. It’s more than just a conference. It’s a writer’s retreat and spiritual retreat all in one.

The grounds are beautiful, with paths that crisscross the landscape, inviting attendees to explore the mountainside. My favorite part of the whole week was the afternoon I slipped away for a long quiet walk, taking in the beauty of God’s creation.

* * * * *

And if you have the opportunity to attend either She Speaks or Allume this year, let me know. I’d love to meet you there!

Do you have a favorite conference you love to attend?