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A Joyful Advent

This Advent, I have been thinking a lot about joy. I believe each person has a God-given, infinite supply of joy. Advent is a time when we celebrate the familiar joy of Jesus’ birth and his presence in our lives today. It’s also a time for us to anticipate the unimaginable joy we’ll experience when Jesus comes again and we are reunited—a joy greater than any joy we’ve ever known.

Handwritten Letters

I am partial to handwritten letters. The kind you scribe on paper or board or photographs, and put in a stamped envelope. The kind you trust to survive the mysterious infrastructure of mail boxes, bags, bins and conveyer belts, sorters and mail carriers, and inclement weather, until it arrives at its destination, with pieces of your heart in tow.

Change of Season

Spring conjures images of daffodils, dandelions, tulips, and warm breezy days. But spring is also mud and dirty piles of lingering snow. Rabbit poop, uprooted trunks, and other emerging evidence of what all those critters were doing in our yard over winter. Spring will eventually bring flowers. For now, spring means cleaning up. Starting new. Letting seeds germinate. ...One of the books I’m writing is about seasons. Not so much winter to spring, but other transitions of life. Relationships. Growing old. Seasons of the heart. Planting hope. Finding faith. Growing love. What’s in your heart this season?[...]

Ten Years 

Ten years ago today, my husband Bob died of cancer. We call it his heaven birthday. When our son, Alexander, turned 10, he wanted to begin his mountain climbing adventures, to be just like his dad. Turning 10 was a big deal. This week, Alexander (now 13) sent an email to family and friends who knew his dad, inviting them to “sign” his birthday card with “a favorite memory, something you especially miss about him, or just say hi.” Here is my letter.

Would You Revise Your Own Life Script?

What if we could see the script of our child’s life before he was born and God gave us five minutes to erase or make changes? Would we take out the bad stuff? If you change one thing, it changes everything after that. ...We don’t always agree with the script as it’s playing out. And many, many times, we ask for the ability to revise it. If given the chance, would you revise your own life script? Would the new version be as interesting?

Balance

On most Wednesday mornings, I spend an hour with Hope learning to balance. I stand barefoot on my yoga mat, facing a mirror with a familiar set of faces as we bend and flow in tai chi, pilates, and yoga moves, and for just a moment forget about everything else that's going on in our lives. I love that my instructor's name is Hope. I love that this takes place smack in the middle of my week. The experience is literally and symbolically a balancing act. Today is Saturday and, in a rare alignment of the planets, I have the whole day and house to myself. This is both a covetable blessing and an interesting dilemma. The list is long. What should I do with my day?

Famous Moments

Many writers dream of fame. It looks so glamorous, doesn't it? Your pen name larger and more important than the book title. New York Times Best Seller printed on the paperback cover. Six figure advances on books you haven't written yet from publishers your mom has heard of.

Where Does Your Story Begin?

Good storytellers know where to begin telling a story. The first line, first paragraph, first page draws us in, makes us care, lures us into the rest of the story. Where does your story begin?

Heroes

All good stories have some sort of hero. Writers spend endless hours developing believable protagonists...When we encounter an everyday hero, it touches something deep inside our hearts. We’re all looking for a hero. And we’re all hoping we’ll be a hero when someone else needs one.
On a hike near our house, we noticed trees shaped like Alexander's initials (AP).

Inspiration

Are you searching for inspiration? It's all around us.

Karen’s life experience is intertwined with her roles as a wife, mom, stepmom, writer, publisher, photographer, traveler, and woman of faith. All these elements tend to make their way into her blog posts.

“Writers have to write. It’s something deep inside us that pushes and pushes until we let it out. It’s part of the air we breathe, this need to make sense of the world around us and to somehow find the right words to express and influence the way we each feel and interact and love and live.”—Writing is Risky Business