Word of the year: Peace

Last year I hoped on a trend of picking a word of the year. I choose “strength” and as I read my post from a year ago, I didn’t feel as if I’d totally blown it over the year. In fact, I needed a little more strength than I anticipated last year to survive a move, adjust to life with a school-age child and to support Clint as he entered the land of the self-employed.


So, what’s my word for 2014? A few possibilities had come to mind but the one that struck me the hardest was “peace.” For the most part, my life is anything but peaceful. It’s busy, chaotic and crazy – and most of the time I thrive in that kind of environment. At times, I feel myself relating to this verse in Job: “What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” (Job 3: 25-26)


That’s a slight exaggeration, of course, but still I could use a little more peace – and not just peace and quiet (although I’ll take some more of that!).


Peace in my family. Having a strong-willed (almost) 6-year-old can suck the peace right out of your life. She can be argumentative and demanding and loving and precious – all in the span of 5 minutes. It’s tiring. I need to find peace in me to create peace in her. And part of that means making peace with motherhood – a part of my life that hasn’t been easy. I need to make peace with those first years so I can be present for what’s to come.


Peace in saying “no.” Part of my lack of peace is my tendency to take on too much. I’ve never met a cause I couldn’t get behind or a project I couldn’t tackle. But I have to remember that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. It’s OK to say “no” sometimes. Interestingly, I tried it a time or two last year and the world didn’t end.


Peace in my own mind. Aside from CrossFitting, I don’t carve out a chunk of the day/week that’s just for me. This year I want to work on my personal writing – even if that’s just updating my blog on a weekly basis. Sounds simple but it’s often hard for me to allow myself the peace and quiet to just be with my own thoughts and do some writing.


Peace in my God. Each year I look for ways to better my spiritual health and grow in my relationship with God. I’ll be working to stay committed to daily devotional time and tackle some books and studies that help me grow.


So, here we go into 2014 with a resolve for greater peace.


Influence Conference: Get to know you questions

I’m really looking forward to meeting the 200 or so women who will be at the Influence Conference next week in Indianapolis. Many of the gals have been using their blogs to introduce themselves before we all converge on Indy. (Did I mention the conference hotel is attached to a mall?)


So I’m following this structure from Kimberly over at ThisHealthyEndeavor.com.


What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Pretty much anything country or 1990s tunes (there, I’ve dated myself).


If you had to work on only one project for the next year, what would it be?

I serve as the president of the nonprofit organization Postpartum Support Charleston and would love to devote a year to that organization and my own personal work educating the public, women and medical professionals about PPD while helping to break the stigma of this illness.


What story does your family always tell about you?
My grandparents like to talk about when they helped me move from Ohio to Texas after college. My grandpa says it was the hardest thing he ever did leaving me in a new town where I was about to start a new job and didn’t know anyone. But it turned out to be an amazing experience where I had a great job as a newspaper reporter, made some lifelong friends and met my husband.


The best part of waking up is?

Coffee! I’m an early riser and love having a little time to myself in the morning so I can start the day reading my Bible or a devotional book and praying. Then I go to CrossFit, which I love.


What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

My favorite time of day is the early morning because it’s peaceful. Sometimes I don’t mind Mondays because the weekends are often so hectic! Growing up in Ohio, I dreaded fall because it meant a brutal winter was just around the corner. But now living Charleston, I love October and November – we finally stop sweating!


With my husband, Clint, and daughter, Kate.

A new direction of influence

Next week I’m headed off to the Influence Conference in Indianapolis to learn new ways that I might have influence.  Here’s a conference description.


“We believe that God has given you influence right where you are, for one purpose: to make much of Him. At Influence we’re going to dig into the common thread of all of us – the Good News. We plan on doing a little teaching, talking, sharing, and celebrating concerning the ways He might want to use you on the individual platforms He’s given.”


I’m excited for this event for two reasons: one, I get a weekend away with girlfriends and the conference hotel is attached to a mall! Two, I want to use this time to really hone my purpose. If you follow my story, you know I’ve been devoting a good deal of time and energy to spreading awareness about postpartum depression. About two years after my own PPD struggles, I really felt God calling me to work in this area.


Part of me needed to find a reason I had experienced such a difficult period in my life. I needed to know something good could come from that. I also felt strongly that Christian women suffering with PPD needed a resource. My initial thought was to write a book about my experience and that of other women and give it a spiritual focus.


I began the book – the research and some writing. I have two chapters drafted (not a particularly stellar start). But a couple of months ago, the idea of the book became less appealing. Writing is no small task and while I’ve written hundreds – maybe even thousands – of newspaper and magazine articles, I had never written a book. And let me tell you, it’s hard. It’s also a lengthy process. The writing and revisions take months or years. Then there’s the process of finding a publisher, and I knew it could be three to five years before I had a book in my hands.


Maybe this isn’t the best way to fulfill my mission. And so I’m rethinking my direction. I’m leaning toward creating an online community and reaching women that way. It feels more immediate and direct – and more successful. I’m not saying “never” to the idea of a book. I’m just saying “not right now.”


So my desire at this Influence Conference next week is to gain more focus and direction for this idea of an online platform – how to develop and grow it so that I may have influence.

Daring to ask God for the impossible

I recently completed the book “Sun Stand Still” by Steven Furtick. Go get a copy…now. It’s a tremendous book that spoke to me at just the right time. Furtick is a pastor in Charlotte who has preached at our church a few times. He’s a young guy with a great message and a passion for God. I love hearing him speak and when they sold his book at our church, I snatched up a copy. But like so many of the books I buy, it sat on the nightstand for months.
So when I started a women’s study at my church earlier this year, and one of the classes was studying this book, I knew I had to join that group. The premise of the book is “what happens when you dare to ask God for the impossible.” It’s about asking God to do something really big in your life – something audacious and seemingly impossible.
For the last year or so, I’ve been chipping away at an idea for a book on postpartum depression. I felt maybe I could help others who had gone through PPD and that surely my suffering with that illness could have a larger purpose. I have only found one book on PPD that takes a Christian perspective so I thought there could be a market for this kind of resource.
During one of the first group sessions, we shared our visions. I was hesitant to share mine, but did. Several women in the group nodded in understanding when I said I’d suffered from PPD and then talked about my desire to write a book on the experience.
A young mother approached me the next week and told me her feelings of PPD and a few days later we met for coffee. She encouraged me to work on the book and offered her support. We shared our experiences with PPD. I love when God lines up experiences, putting us in just the right place at just the right time with just the right people.
I’ve been struggling with finding the time to work on the book. In truth, I think it may be less about making the time and more about the fear of such an undertaking. But I’ve finished reading the last couple chapters of “Sun Stand Still” and continue to believe this is God’s desire for me, so I’m renewing my commitment to this project and carving out some dedicated time to work on it. So, hold me accountable on my progress. Give me a nudge. Say a prayer for me. Here I go ….