Declare Conference 2016 #DigitalEvangelist(s)

The end of this month is the Declare Conference for Christian Women Bloggers. This year will be the fifth year I’ve attended. I look forward to it in so many ways. The sense of community, vitality and the fellowship of Christian sisters is so full of meaning to me.

This year’s theme: Equipping women to be Jesus online #DigitalEvangelist  is something I crave for my words, my life- to be the best reflection of Jesus to others that I can be; (I’m not always successful by a long shot- maybe I should phrase it this way- sometimes I get it right).

 In his book, Paul for Everyone- The Pastoral Letters, Tom Wright makes a statement about different types of teaching that Paul is relating to Timothy in 1Timothy 1. I think he expresses exactly what I’ve been thinking about being a #DigitalEvangelist.

“In it, he (Paul) has in mind two basic types of teaching.  

One goes round and round in circles, picking up interesting ideas and theories and playing with them endlessly- though not necessarily having a very detailed understanding of what such things might really be all about.  

The other has a clear aim, cuts out anything that gets in the way of it, and go straight to the point. “

Paul tells Timothy in verse 5:  “What we aim at in our teaching is the love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith.”

 I think that this verse describes the #DigitalEvangelist in all of us because we are teaching the world about Jesus.

Regardless of what we write about- that reflection of Jesus from us to the world comes shining through and in revealing Him to the world we are teaching whether we realize it or not. And that is what I hope we all take home with us- just what it means to be a #DigitalEvangelist.

It’s all about Him. That’s all. 

 

This year in anticipation of the conference and to introduce ourselves we have been asked to answer a few questions. Here are my answers.

Looking forward to meeting you all!

1. If we were meeting in person, how would you introduce yourself? (job, family, career, ministry, where you live … share whatever details come to mind)

I can give you a dissertation on paper, however, when I meet someone  or I’m introducing myself to a group verbally most of what I’d like to say escapes me.

Hello, my name is Nancy. I’m 63 years old. I’ve been a wife for 44 years, a mother for almost 40 years, a MIL for 16 years, Nana for almost 14 years. We have 10 grands and we live in Rockwall, TX near the lake. I worked as a nurse for over 30 years; 16 of those years in the schools. It was my calling for a season; now I’m called to family. I have seen God work in many ways in my life and it always comes back to total dependence on Him.

Trivia round: I went to 14 different schools from kindergarten to graduation from high school and I lived in Germany for two years as a child.

2. What is your favorite thing to write and why?

It would appear that I love to write out my opinions and share them; however, when I started writing as a teen, my first experience was with poetry- free verse. That has always been where my thoughts go first and what flows most easily from my pen.

3. What is your favorite thing to read and why? (If this question is too broad for you avid readers, what’s a favorite book or blog you’ve read lately?)

My favorite genre is Scifi and fantasy- but I haven’t seen much that I would consider quality in recent years.  Next is historical fiction, history and poetry. Everyday reading includes blogs by friends. I suppose the reason I like those kind of books is the escape-ism. Growing up I needed that escape valve and I still do from time to time. I’m reading “The Boys in the Boat” right now- it’s about the US Olympic rowing team in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. 

4. If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

That’s a toughie. The first thing that comes to mind is finding a cabin in the mountains in East Tennessee where I could sit on the porch in ideal weather and just soak in the world around me and write. The second is to spend the day in the pool with all of the grands. And then, finally it would be to go to this little village that I love in England and walk the trails and spend time chatting with the locals. Obviously, this was a hard question for me. 

5. What is one thing you love about your blog and one thing you’d like to improve?

What I like is to put the words out there. I’d just like to do it more regularly. What I’d like to improve is to make it more photogenic without it looking like a travel brochure.

6. [Lightening Round] Would you rather …

  • Read on Kindle or paperback?  Paperback – I’m a highlighter queen. Although a kindle at night works.
  • Drink coffee or tea? Tea mostly, but coffee when I’m feeling groggy (like every morning)
  • Go to a musical or a movie? either
  • Vacation at the beach or the mountains? beach in summer, mountains in winter
  • Have an exciting night out or a relaxing night in? depends on how tired I am
  • Watch sports, play sports, or no sports? Watch some sports, baseball and soccer to be specific. Watch the Winter Olympics. Not football. Period.  And, I swim.

 Curious?    http://declareconference.com 

 

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All His. Wild obedience played out in {my}life.

 Putting the pieces together slowly.

Last weekend I spent time with some amazing women of God at a conference called “Declare”. These women write, like me of their experiences and their faith. They survive, like me, all of the turmoil the days bring with family and friends and the world around them. The theme for the weekend was “Wild Obedience”.

We spoke of what we heard in our hearts when we listened to God. We sang of His Blessings, His Love, His Provision.  We prayed for His Guidance, His Mercy, His Protection.  We talked, we listened, we learned.

Then we saw what “Wild Obedience” looks like in the life of others through the words they gave out. Saying yes to going where they’ve never been before. Saying yes to a big idea God placed on their hearts. Saying yes when God says I want you here and oh, btw, it’s dangerous and I want you to bring your family. And, even saying yes when He says “I want you right where you are and to speak the words I give you.”  

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Now I am home, the dishes left from the weekend have been washed, the groceries have been bought, the doctor visits accomplished and the mail has been read.

In the mail, was a bulletin from a former church in another town.  An article written in it by one of the pastors on staff contained an incredible little nugget- He started off talking about a girl who shared what she brought along on a church camping trip.  It was, in the scheme of things, insignificant. Yet, so timely. You see, here in Texas in the summer, it hardly ever rains. There may not be a cloud in the sky for weeks or months around here. 

There they were, at camp, prepared for anything but rain. 

It rained. 

Four days straight.

 When they packed up supplies at the church to take to camp, she had thrown a full garbage bag along with other supplies in the back of the truck thinking it was part of what should be taken along. She discovered after they unpacked at camp she had picked up a bag full of old tarps from the storage room. She brought them out when the rain started and passed them around and they proceeded to make ponchos out of the tarps. Camp was a success instead of a miserable failure. 

He continued on, connecting her with the story of the loaves and fishes lunch of a little boy one day on the shore of Gallilee.

  Like the girl at camp, who gave what she brought, the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus to feed the thousands gave what he had. This little man didn’t hold on to it for himself. He didn’t hide it or run away with it or try to eat it all up quick. He handed it to Jesus to do what He would with it.  His little lunch in his own hands was insignificant in the eyes of those around him. Yet, in Jesus’ hands…. 

As I read that article I was immediately taken back to the weekend.

“Wild Obedience” demonstrated right there on the page!

This what it is.

Offering back to Him the very things He has given us for Him to do with as He wills.

Our words. 

Our blogs. 

Our families. 

Our lives.

Oh, what He can do with those little broken words and fractured sentences, those dishpan hands, those carpooled-out brains, those feet with broken toes and blistered heels, those graying hairs and finely chiseled wrinkles, those lonely hearts and tired souls when we give them all to Him! 

I’m in. Are you?

 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him…1 Kings 8:58a

linking up with other voices from Declare: HERE

 

What a difference a Year makes

Declare- what a difference a year makes!

When I attended Mamas Write last year, I stumbled upon it via someones comment on FB,  I had no idea what to expect, nor did i know anyone who was there. I must admit I felt a little on the margins- I was one of the very few(count ’em on one hand) older ladies who attended. 
Whew, that took a lot to admit!  I have attended many other conferences for my profession and I’m used to many voices at one time all speaking the same language. But, not then- I was the foreigner in a foreign land. New to blogging, only at it not quite a year.  Not like some of those other “girls” whose voice had been out there for 5, 8, 10 years.  I was the outsider looking in and I was overwhelmed. TMI and a lot of it didn’t apply- not because I knew it all, but because I was in a different season than most of those precious young ones. 
Fast forward a couple of months and I went to Allume- I was called there- and I knew it. But, even though I met in RL many of the sweet girls I had become friends with online through the Better Writer group on FB, there was still something off kilter. TMI  again and so much that it was still flowing out my ears six months later. I did love meeting my girls tho- those ladies are so precious to me, to  have met, hugged, talked with, ate with, sat in sessions with and ate chocolate with; not to mention the incredible photo booth which was an experience in itself (yes, Trina, I mean you).  Still, I must admit that I’ve been off-kilter a lot since then.  A lingering minor illness that sapped my strength the rest of the fall, winter and into the spring made even thinking about blogging a challenge. 
Now, fast forward from spring to now- I declare! What an amazing difference a year makes. I was torn this year between going to every conference I could to not attending any. Financial concerns were looming. I held off until the week of the conference- ok, that was last week y’all! And, just like last year- It was a God thing that I go. 
I could tell you of meeting in RL two of my fellow Better Writer bloggers (like meeting long-separated family). I could tell you of the little jewels that stood out in Mary DeMuth’s talk; but I wrote a page and a half on that! I could tell you of all the sweet ladies that I met at the table at meal times. I could tell you of Kat Lee’s Ninja talk  (another 3 pages of notes). I could tell you of Amy Lynn Andrews’  fast and furious paced answers to those blogging FAQs (but she gave us the link to her cheat sheet). I could tell you of Holly Homer’s introduction to the world of Google + (whew, more notes!!). 
I could tell you of all the wonderful vendors I talked with whose hearts for the truly disenfranchised and for the least of these was evident in every conversation. I could tell you of Jill Monaco’s wonderful roller coaster talk and her absolute trust in God and His timing. I could tell you of David Molnar’s great photography tips and his fun sense of humor (great tips, thanks!). I could tell you of Jeff Goins and his most sincere talk regarding the in-between (not to mention-his impersonation of Ron Weasley). I could tell you of the worship band, Undignified and their wonderful leadership into the heart of worship for us all.  But, what stuck most in my heart was Shaun Groves.
Shaun’s heart is so far out in front of him it’s flashing with neon lights! His music was a joy to my ears, but when he talked about his precious little man, and the fact that if only someone had been compassionate and had sponsored this sweet boy, he would now be home in India in his own home with his own parents, with his own father telling him that he loved him in his native language. There were tears in Shaun’s eyes as he related the story of tucking in this little man and telling him that he loved him and this sweet boy, not understanding the language, asked what love meant. He told us that he used the words the boy did understand: “I big, big, big like you!” And that sweet boy told him: “Daddy, I love you, too.”  (big cry)
Shaun then related to us how much it would mean for this little boy to hear that from his birth parent and how he wished that it was so. That it was not him, the adoptive daddy, but the real daddy telling this little boy about love. It didn’t matter to him that he loved this one with all his heart, he only knew that there are many boys and girls out there who do not hear those words every night. There are so many more who are orphaned and given away or abandoned by parents who have no means to feed, clothe, educate, or anything else. These parents, destitute, fade away. The lucky ones are scooped up by missions and organizations like Compassion. Their bodies are fed, they are clothed and educated and their souls and spirits are fed the food they need to soar and to grow into the Body of Christ.  
That is what I want to tell you. It’s not about blogging. It’s about community. It’s about loving our fellow man, caring for those who are helpless to care for themselves, in whatever way we can. For those who blog- it’s telling our story to anyone who will listen because we all matter.  It’s loving until it hurts and then loving some more; and if we have the means it’s sharing what we have with those who have nothing.
Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed the crowds. He will multiply your words to reach the ones who need to be told “I love You”.
Trust Him. He will feed you and give you words so that you can feed others. 
That’s what I gleaned between the lines last weekend at Declare!
I’m linking up with other attendees over on Declare’s site– go out and read what knocked their socks off this weekend? I know they’d appreciate it and any comment you give them will spur them on as they write!