Hospitality is important to me. I grew up in a home where it was common to have guests for dinner, even though we were a family of seven without a formal dining room. Simply getting everyone around the table could be a squeeze, but I don't remember a person ever complaining. We were happy to sit … [Read more...] about Superhost!
Are you writing a memoir? Last weekend I attended an event for writers at the "First Fridays" in Leesburg, VA, sponsored by the Bethesda Writer's Center. The speaker was Hilary Black, who works for National Geographic. She talked about writing narrative nonfiction. Here are a few nuggets from that … [Read more...] about Three Tips for Writing Memoir
A recent article in the NYT, Learning to Love Criticism, discusses a Fortune.com study of performance reviews, which shows that women are criticized more severely, and in more personal ways, than are men. In other words: It's not our imagination! I am familiar with the dynamic described. As a … [Read more...] about Praise or Blame, All the Same: Handling Criticism
I'm a Presbyterian pastor who often talks about hospitality. Last spring my husband and I took the practice of hospitality to a new level when we became Air Bnb hosts. Many people are curious about the experience of hosting. Why would we want to open up our home to complete strangers? I'll readily … [Read more...] about Hospitality: What the Church Can Learn from Air Bnb
The conflict in Gaza occupies hearts and minds right now. I know you're praying for peace. But how else can a faith leader respond? So often we feel forced to choose a side. Are you pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian? The topic always seems to boil down to this question which (reasonably enough) results … [Read more...] about 9 Things Pastors Can Do Besides Pray for Gaza
I wrote this in 2014 but, unfortunately, it's all still true, so I'll repost it, even though I haven't updated the links with more up-to-date examples of women's lower pay rates and the legislating of women's wombs. You'll have to forgive me if I'm cranky about Mother's Day. Once again the world … [Read more...] about Momma Don’t Want No Stinkin’ Card
Should a serious writer bother with a writing group? I led a forum on this subject at Festival of Faith & Writing. About 30 writers came to the forum and I shared with them why I believe in the power of writing groups. Here are my notes: BENEFITS of a Writing Group: can help each other … [Read more...] about Get It Written, Get It Published: How a Writing Group Can Help
I love Bodypump. But January is a tough month to love my gym. All these newly-inspired resolution-making types show up to give Bodypump a try. They bang into me as they set up their bench top and risers. They encroach on my space. They don’t know proper weight selection. It makes me cranky. … [Read more...] about Bodypump & the Body of Christ
My book-signing table was at the very front of the Books-A-Million store, so at first I felt self-conscious, sitting so conspicuously with my books. Then I realized I had a front row seat to life at the mall, more observing than observed. People who were alone tended to walk past at a fast clip, … [Read more...] about Sitting In My Chair
One of my life goals was to write a book and have it published. It took fourteen years of sustained effort to accomplish that goal. During that time, I treated writing as a 20 hour/week job. I wrote two novels, was the founding member of two writing critique groups (which meet regularly to this … [Read more...] about The Devil in the Numbers
My "Pilgrimage" manuscript has been received by the publisher and is due out in about one year. The first line of the publisher's response was: Is this final? Yes, they even underlined the word final. Friends, that question struck absolute terror into my heart! For one thing, I am used to … [Read more...] about Is that Final?
When I first met my husband, I was into long-distance bicycle riding. I was also very busy writing short stories and submitting them to contests. Early on in our relationship, my husband realized that whenever I got stuck on a story, I would get a powerful urge to go oil my bicycle chain. After all, … [Read more...] about Oiling the Bike Chain: Distracting Myself from Writing