Monthly Archives: May 2012

on getting noticed in a noisy world {a book review and give-away}…

I’m currently reading Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. I also follow Michael’s blog. He’s a ball of energy, a no-nonsense, straight-forward, genuine leader. He’s figured out how to make all this work… this blogging, branding, getting noticed in a noisy world thing. And so, I’m reading his book. What he’s doing is working (case in point, I bought the book), which begs the question, is what I’m doing working? Am I getting noticed in a noisy world? Further still, should I even be asking the question?


Do you know what I like best about Michael’s book? All the helpful tips for getting noticed.


Do you know what makes me the most uncomfortable about Michael’s book? All the helpful tips for getting noticed.


I struggle with this… this whole “look at me.” Truly, that’s not the pulse behind Michael’s book. Michael is trying to equip his readers with the necessary tools that better enable them to get their message out. I get it. I’m grateful for it. After all, I believe I have a message—a story of grace and witness to share with others. I believe you have one as well. As Christians, we are charged with the “story.” The Great Commission belongs to believers and is Christ’s benediction to his earthly tenure, his parting words intended for us (see Matthew 28:16-20). Going into all the world (your little corner of the world) and making disciples isn’t an optional requirement of our faith. It’s a necessary component to cultivating our faith.


In light of this, Michael’s question becomes a question I’m willing to wrestle with as I seek to put parameters around what I’m doing here at my blogging address, peace for the journey. Am I getting noticed in a noisy world? Is my message getting through? How can I best maximize the witness of my heart so that the hearts of others might be drawn closer to the heart of the Father?


It’s a tricky endeavor, merging sacred witness with social media platforms (Michael devotes a lot of chapters to talking about this area, probably because so many of us are focused there). Blogging, facebooking, twittering, pinterest, it’s a lot to take on. And I might get blasted for saying this, but I’ve come to believe that there is always a “me” attached to these forums. Think about it… even if we’re typing out scriptures for one another, we’re still the mouthpiece—the hands and heart behind our tweets. And that’s not always a bad something; most of the time, it’s a really good something, but we can’t deny that there’s not a “me” that comes with each and every one of our posts, our status updates, our tweets, our pins. We’re just a huge part of the process. We want to be heard; accordingly, we speak our minds.


And therein lies the rub—our minds. My mind. Oh the places it goes, the explorations it undertakes! My mind is a traveling gypsy. Left unregulated by the Holy Spirit’s guidance, I could easily steer off course and make this place about something else, something other than my journey with Jesus.


I guess I just want to do this right. I don’t want to get so tangled up in all the particulars—the strategies, methods, and latest trends—that I lose my focus. I want to keep writing about my journey with Jesus and then let go of the rest. Let what happens happen and let that be enough. But underneath, there’s still this push for more, this pulsing notion that I should be doing more to get my story out there and to keep up with this ever-changing beast named social media. Indeed, a tough wrestling, this idea of platform and my feelings about getting noticed, about getting God noticed.


How about you and your platform? Do you ever feel the strain? What stage has God allowed to serve as a venue for your faith’s witness? Are you getting noticed in a noisy world? Is God getting noticed because of you? How has social media shaped the way you share your story? What’s going right with it? What’s going wrong with it? And why has it become so desperately important to most of us?


I’m not knocking Michael’s book. I love his book; it’s chock-full of practical advice for anyone with “something to say or sell.” But I just don’t know how to take all of his advice and incorporate it into what I’m trying to do here in my little corner of the blogosphere. It just feels too big and too hard some days. Maybe I’m just too tired.


I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the above questions. Obviously, my heart’s working them through, and I’d like nothing better than to work them through with you, faithful readers. Let’s keep the conversation positive, and as an added bonus, I’m giving away a copy of Michael’s book. Just mention your interest in your discussion of these questions. As always…


Peace for the journey
post signature

when God speaks a “something” over you…

“. . . the word of the LORD tested him.” –Psalm 105:19

Sometimes he tells me. Sometimes keeping it inside pins him down . . . pushes him down where the pain hurts deeply and the tears flow easily. Sometimes the world slams cruelly and unfairly into him, moving him to the outer edges of what’s reasonable. Sometimes it’s just too much. Last night was one of those times.

And so he told me . . . laid down beside me, took my hand and shared with me the deepest ache of his heart.

 “Elaine, I can’t give in to this despair. Even when I want to, I can’t, because I believe that at any moment, on any given day, God might show me that something I’ve been waiting to see. And if I give in to despair, I’ll miss it–God’s something. And baby, I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want you to miss it either, so I’ll keep holding on for both of us.”

And then I broke, lying there beside my man. Hand in hand. Hearts aching together. Hearts longing for, looking for, and believing in that something . . . God’s something. A something spoken over our lives a season ago that brought us to this place, this space, this dot on the map named ministry.

A long time ago, there was a boy on the verge of manhood, a seventeen-year-old dreamer named Joseph (see Genesis 37-40). God, too, spoke a something into his heart. A dream or two about taking the lead, about rising to the occasion, about being the man in a season yet to come. What incredible privilege to hold such holy affirmation, confirmation in one’s heart—to be told in advance that you’ll be needed, you’ll be trusted, you’ll be used by God in a mighty way! Joseph’s dreams were far grander than his reality, and to pack all that truth inside his heart only to be cruelly taunted by that truth . . . for years? Well, lesser men would have given in to their despair, would have wilted under confinement, and would have stopped anticipating God’s greater move . . . God’s grander something.

But Joseph wasn’t a lesser man. Neither is my man. Both of them, God’s men—God’s appointed leadership despite a long season of taunts to the contrary. Like Joseph, my husband is a man willing to believe in a dream and to keep his feet and faith planted on the path that will move him closer to seeing that dream become a reality, even when that path feels like a dead-end.

There are no dead-ends with God. Only living ones. Living-ends with the Lover and Creator of our souls. The dreams that God breathes into our hearts, the plans that he has for us, the thoughts that he thinks toward us, well, they are holy. Consecrated. Truthful. Enduring. God’s dreams for our lives arrive with a pulse and with a promise—that he who began a very good and gracious work inside of us will be faithful to see it through to completion (Phil. 1:6). Dreams that begin and end there—with God—are dreams that cannot be thwarted, only anticipated.

And so, today, my man anticipates. With one hand, he grips the dream—God’s something—and with the other hand, he grips me. He pulls me toward anticipation . . . toward the dream, and I am swallowed up by the quicksand of his faith. I’m drawn into it, immersed in the raw and gritty determination of the dream, and that which began as a great pain in my husband’s heart last night has transformed into a great strength for both of us this day. Once again, we give our hearts and our hands to this place, this space, this dot on the map named ministry.

Today just might be the day when the dream awakens to reality. I don’t want to miss it should it arrive. As always…

Peace for the journey,
post signature

PS: Many thanks to all of you for entering the give-away. Unfortunately, only two winners this go around, and they are… Jane Babich and Kathie! Ladies, please contact me with via e-mail with your mailing information. Jane, I don’t have any contact info for you. Thanks.

holding expectation…

Holding verses . . . you know the kind. The scriptures that hold you, keep you, warm you, and sustain you in your darkest hours. Where would we be . . . where would I be without the wrapping of God’s Word around my heart? Here are a few of the holding verses that cradled me during those dark hours named cancer.


“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.” –1 Peter 5:8-11


There’s a lot of truth crammed into these four verses; the apostle Peter knew how to make every word count. He knew that the saints back then (those early Christians) would need some holding verses. I wonder if he also knew that we (current day Christians) would need them as well. Oh, the certain timelessness and gracefulness of the inspired Word of God! Indeed, holding words that keep us tethered to eternity.


So what did I learn from these four verses during my time of great suffering? What is still being learned? What truths from Peter’s yesterday can we expect to see in our todays?

  • Expect an adversary—the devil. He’s hungry, he’s prowling, and he has you in his sights.
  • Expect your faith. The life you live with God, the faith investments you’ve made into your spiritual bank account, have fortified your heart and your feet for a strong stand against your adversary.
  • Expect companions. You are not the first, nor will you be the last to experience your particular suffering. Brothers and sisters across the planet are struggling too.
  • Expect suffering (refer to first bullet point). Don’t blame God. Put the blame where it belongs.
  • Expect God.
  • Expect grace.
  • Expect an eternal glory in Christ Jesus.
  • Expect God’s willingness and ability.
  • Expect God’s restoration.
  • Expect God’s confirmation.
  • Expect God’s strength.
  • Expect God’s stability.
  • Expect God’s forever . . . and ever.
  • Expect an “amen” from God. A “so be it.” A finish.


Suffering days don’t have the final word on our faith and regarding our finishes. God does. And we can expect him . . . beautifully and certainly expect him to superintend our hearts all the way through to the end. He is and forever will be the holding Truth of my heart. I pray he’s yours as well.


Be watchful for the movement of God in your lives this weekend, friends. Expect it, even when your adversary seems very close at hand. Especially then, because your Advocate is even closer. I promise. As always . . .


Peace for the journey,
     post signature


PS: There’s still time to enter the give-away. See this post for details!

common sense and good grace… {for Jadon}

There’s a boy that I love… a third son whose name means “God has heard.” A tenderhearted grace that arrived in our lives in a season when I thought my womb would remain closed for forever. It’s a long story, really it is. One that I’ve written about at length in another manuscript that’s yet to make it off the bookshelf. Safe to say, Jadon’s birth filled a deep longing in our young married hearts to have a child together. He’s a miracle, and today I was given another keepsake to treasure. Today, my son finished the 5th grade.


There was a season not long ago when I didn’t know how it would finish for us… how we’d make it through the stresses and rigors of the curriculum. Some of you may remember my frustration—a time when common sense and good grace threatened to leave the building. Thankfully, sense and grace prevailed, and today my son finished the 5th grade. Not just any kind of a finish… a strong finish.

Jadon and his awesome tutor, Ms. Ann!

And I applauded him. Choked back a few tears, thought back a few years, and realized just how far common sense and a very good grace have carried us all. It doesn’t always end this way. Not everyone makes the honor roll, at least not on this side of eternity. Some of us scrape and scrap our way through to the finish line believing the finish line to be the honor, not the grades. But every now and again, we receive the glory of having them both—the honor roll and the finish line colliding as one and reminding us that all has not been lost in the struggle to get there. There has been gain and growth that will carry over and push us forward into the next chapter of our stories.


I don’t know how that next chapter will read for Jadon. I do believe it will be hard for this miracle boy growing into a man, especially as he tries to meld into a mold that doesn’t fit with his uniqueness. We’ll be homeschooling next year, a change that will certainly bring challenges our way. But despite the many unknowns regarding Jadon’s tomorrows, this I do know. Common sense and good grace will take him where he wants to go… where he needs to go. Common sense and good grace never fail. Common sense and good grace make the honor roll every time.


May God grant us all an ample supply of both as we press on in faith toward the finish line. As always…


Peace for the journey,
post signature

an official welcome and give-away

Sixteen changes of address. I counted today, and that’s how many I can credit to my life history. I’ve probably missed one or two, and I’m certain I’m not finished. What I am certain of is the temperamental nature of the moving process. It’s an intricate, delicate course of action and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly.

Accordingly, when I contemplated “moving” my website from blogger to wordpress, I did so with some fear and trembling. It’s not been an easy move for me, but thanks to Jen @ Blue Yonder Design, things are settling down, and I’m learning how to rest in my new home. Jen has graciously worked out some of the kinks and quirks that inevitably come with making such a move. The best part about my moving (unlike the sixteen moves I’ve made with a moving van) is the fact that you made this move with me! When I arrived at my new home on WordPress Avenue, you were here, welcoming me into your lives, even as you have been welcoming me for the past four years. It is a blessing and honor to “do life” with you!

Along those lines, I’d like to open up my front door today, welcome you in, and offer you an opportunity to win a few housewarming gifts. Two of you will receive a package at your front door containing the following items (some of my very favorite things):

My good friend, Rebecca, makes jewelry. In particular, she’s a beader. Over the last few weeks, we’ve spent some time together, designing a survivor’s bracelet that will be available for purchase when my book, Beyond Cancer’s Scars, is released this summer. In the meantime, she whipped up these two beauties for me to use as part of my house-warming give-away.

And how about these beautiful note cards, photographed by my friend, Cindy! I use her cards on a regular basis, always to great applause by the recipients. If you’re a card-sender, check out Cindy’s website to order a set.

Audrey Assad. Heard of her? This is her latest musical compilation. I adore her and am glad to be able to share her work with you.

Last but certainly not least, there are two of my favorite fellas—Harry & David. Ever had them over for dessert? Oh my. Any of their delicacies will do, but the dark-chocolate covered raisins are some of my favorites. Yes, I’m going to try and include them in the give-away despite the onset of summer (subject to change due to extreme weather in your area).

And there you have it. A few of my favorite things to two of you, my gracious, faithful readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment here telling me one of your favorite things about your home. It could be something as huge as a big screen television or as small as a favorite spot to have your morning coffee. What delights are lurking in your home? You can earn another chance to win by sharing this post on your facebook and/or twitter pages. Be sure to leave me a separate comment letting me know. This contest will remain open until midnight, Sunday, May 27th. Two winners will be chosen by random drawing.

Again, thank you for the privilege of allowing me into your life and for joining me on the journey of faith. There are days when my world feels pretty small. Having you here enlarges it. I love you all so very much. As always…

Peace for the journey,
post signature

error: Content is protected !!