My school year had just ended leaving me in a post-school, glad it’s summer haze. I was gearing up to go on vacation to the beach for a week with family. Amidst the craziness, in popped an email titled “Blogging Opportunity”. You know it piqued my interest because organizing and packing were quickly forgotten and one click later, I was reading the email. I scanned the content and learned it was from my bloggy friend, Holly who invited me to join the fun of this thing called a blog hop. Sharing the writing love and learning about new friends is something we like to do in this wonderful community of writers. God blesses you with just the right people at the right time and Holly is that person. We both share a mature (I use that term loosely-probably an age thing) view of motherhood and a fierce momma’s love of our children who have since flown the coop. Holly pours her heart out on the page by reaching into memories that have been tucked away and using her current experiences – all meant to encourage each of us who stop by her place to sit and soak it in.
So onto the fun! I have four questions that I am going to answer about writing and then I will introduce you to three more friends. Hope you enjoy this as much as I have!
1. What am I writing or working on?
I typically have three or four ideas swirling in my head at the same time and the trick is finding the time to pursue and honor them as God is calling me to do. Since I work full time, I made a goal of writing and posting once a week with the hopes that I could squeeze in a second time as my schedule would allow. I have been joining the Five Minute Friday community recently at Lisa Jo Baker’s place, which has challenged me and brought me into a new community of wonderful writers.
I write to encourage others, to work through the healing of my own messy life and to share ordinary God moments that usually come from my 3rd grade students. God gave me story the moment I was born and by sharing the words on this page, I honor Him. God has our heart and our story and guards it lovingly in His arms. This has given me the courage to set it free on this page.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Let me be honest and say that my writing does not differ in its genre but is unique because it is my story. Being brave and fearless in sharing my story could be just the encouragement that one person needs to hear that particular day. Emily Freeman in her book A Million Little Ways writes “You are a poem written inside the person of Christ and exist to carry out his inner desire. You are an image bearer and you have a job to do.” To me, these words sum up perfectly why I write. My story is how I am an image bearer used to reflect my life back to God.
3. Why do I write what I write?
Writing started as stolen moments as a child scribbling my secret thoughts in a 4×4 inch diary that locked with a tiny key (do you remember these?) As I got older, writing became journaling but once again the words were my words only. Two years ago, God decide to shake up my life and threw one challenge after another my way. Life became overwhelming and in my prayer time (more like pleading) God gently answered my cries with one word “write”. From there my blog – Passage Through Grace was born. My constant questioning and self-doubts were replaced by God’s grace and reassurance that my story matters, my words will bring healing and my words will encourage. The final answer consistently returns – “write – your story is my story so share it!”
4. How does my writing process work?
Oh is there a process? Just kidding- but in reality there are not specific steps that I consistently follow for this thing called writing. Ideas pop into my head at random times and beg to be explored. My hope is that my phone, a post it or anything is nearby to record the thought. You can find me many times walking outside busy typing on my phone because the idea needs attention immediately. I assure you I have not been harmed or harmed anything else in this process yet!!! I am old school and prefer to put pen to paper as a starting point for each post before transferring and prettying it up on the computer. As thoughts flow, the urge is strong to write without delay.
And so – because we each have a unique story that begs to be shared, I have three more bloggy friends to introduce.
I’m pretty sure I met Barbie Swihart through Holly when we both stopped by her place for encouragement. While visiting Barbie, I found a wonderful community of bloggers who linked up each weekend at The Weekend Brew. As I read Barbie’s words poured out on her page each week, I was drawn in by her honesty, emotion and beautiful art. Barbie then began a weekly series on Emily Freeman’s book A Million Little Ways and I was hooked. You can visit Barbie at A Freshly Brewed Life. You will be blessed!
“Barbie is a wife, mother, artist, author and Child of the King of Kings. She works full time supporting the lead pastor of her church, as she balances faith, family and ministry. Life is busy, but she strives to slow down just long enough to catch glimpses of His love and sprinkles of His grace along the way. Barbie writes at My Freshly Brewed Life, where she shares about her own life openly and honestly so as to encourage others. She enjoys spending time in the Prayer Room, signing and praying, reading, writing, painting and spending time with her family and friends.”
Candace and I crossed paths during a Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible study of Lysa Terkuerst’s book Made to Crave. During the course of the study, we found each other’s blogs during the weekly blog hops. Through comments and other conversations, we found out we were actually neighbors – Ohio and Kentucky. I love Candace’s heart for God but also her blog’s diversity which explores crafts, her food struggles and life stories. Check out Candace at Candace Creates and be blessed by her story.
Hi! I’m Candace, a wife, stay-at-home mom, and lover of all things creative— writing, painting, crafting… My past is filled with addiction, mental health issues, lack of faith, and trauma. I have struggled with my decision to become a Christian throughout my life and can honestly say I’m finally a true Believer. My blog was born out of my need to create and my desire to spread the word of God’s grace and mercy. You can find my testimony, daily struggles, and lots of fun DIY projects at CandaceCreates.com. I hope you will join me on this wonderful journey!
My third friend is Linda Stoll. I became acquainted with her recently when she was introduced on a mutual friend’s blog – Beth @Messy Marriage. Neither of us have looked back since the introduction. I have found a true friend, an encourager and someone who just gets me. Linda participates in Lisa Jo’s Five Minute Friday and can be found blogging at Creekside Ministries but is also a counselor which is why she probably understands me so well! 🙂 Be blessed and encouraged by Linda’s gentle spirit and words of encouragement.
“Linda Stoll is super excited as she launches her new role as blog coach! She finds deep satisfaction as a pastoral counselor to women, and is known for her gentle encouragement interlaced with the most challenging of questions.
She’s surprised by her passion to blog and is intrigued by a more minimalist lifestyle. She’s a craver of solitude, endless walks along desolate beaches, and really good chocolate. And she’s finding the call to gratitude and worship more compelling than ever.
Linda celebrates 38 years of marriage … and is most entertained when enjoying a delectable 1-1 connection with one of her six grandchildren.”
All three of these beautiful women share a piece of themselves each week on their blogs. We have not met in person but I am convinced that God will ordain those meetings in the future. I am blessed by each one and encourage you to visit their blogging homes. I know you won’t be disappointed!
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I have been questioning recently why I blog, since I really don’t seem to have anything new to say. Your answer to #2 is exactly the conclusion I need to reach. See? Your words have already made a difference to one person; you’ve started the train! (Or web, or, hopefully, downpour!) I too went from diary to journal to blogging/phone swyping/post-it or napkin scribbling, and am glad to hear that my “system” is not quite as messed up as I thought! I love the blog hop idea, too. Blessings!
Thanks, Andrea! The blog hop has been a huge blessing-sharing love, getting to know other bloggers and hearing their heart for writing and Jesus. Blessings!
I really enjoyed reading your answers. And they didn’t surprise me one bit … Since it is obvious you do write for God. Your words do help heal!
I just love you dearly.
Your prayers and messages to me are helping me stay lifted in a time I so need it.
Heather – I love seeing your beautiful face here at my place. Thank you for your encouragement. God has given you such a gift of sharing His light through your encouraging words inspite of your challenges and pain. So blessed to have connected with you!
Hi Mary! Nice to meet you today! I am following the link from Linda’s blog at Creekside.
I am definitely an ‘old school’ writer too. I have yellow legal pads that get my ideas first. I can scratch out and draw arrows on it, I like that! Love that Emily Freeman quote. You are poem! All of your gifts come out in your writing I’m sure.
Have a great Monday 🙂
Ceil-you blessed me by stopping by today! I can’t wait to read your writing responses – I guess I’ll need to wait a few weeks! 🙂 Emily Freeman’s book “A Million Little Ways” truly cut me to the quick. Her words speak to me and I will continue to reflect and refer to them as time goes on. Many blessings!
I miss the Five Minute Friday. And I so loved Emily’s book. It really opened my eyes to life in general. Thanks for including me in the fun. I’m familiar with Linda, and look forward to getting to know Candace!
The Blog Hop has been so much fun! You truly touched me with your book study of Emily Freeman’s book “A Million Little Ways”. I love how your heart is always listening for what God is speaking to you. I’m excited to read your post for the Blog Hop. Happy Sunday!
Love that quote from Emily Freeman’s book! I’m glad to learn a bit more about you & your blogging journey. Thanks for visiting me at Doorkeeper. Blessings!
So glad you stopped by. The Blog Hop has been so much fun-a great way to meet new bloggy friends and a blessing to read the answers to the writing questions and realize that you are not in this alone. Hope to see cross paths with you again-Renee! Blessings!
I’m loving this blog hop and the opportunity to get to know friends better and be introduced to their friends. I already know the three you have shared and they always bless. So glad we’ve connected in this blogging world. I look forward to continuing to get to know you better, Mary.
Beth – this was so much fun! I love that you know the friends I introduced! They certainly inspire me. I am glad we have connected and I thank you for the link up opportunity over at your place. I look forward to hanging out with you more over at your place. Blessings!
I LOVED learning more about you Mary!!! It is such fun to realize that as much as we all are different, we have so many similarities. It is amazing how God uses it all for His purposes in each of our lives. And I love your three friends. I have been blessed to visit them all & receive from their words of encouragement as well! Have a great day!!!
Joanne – This writing community has been such a blessing in my life. It truly is a community that stands behind its people! I agree that the differences between us become blurred as we walk this writing path together. Holly is amazing and I love that she pushed both of us to stretch our writing wings. Thank you for stopping by! Blessings, my friend!
This is a wonderful blog hop, Mary! Thank you for including me with such inspiring women. I love reading about people’s writing- the whys and hows… It’s so interesting to me. I love that you use pen and paper- “old school” style. I listened to an interview with Max Lucado not long ago and learned he does all of his writing with pen and paper. He said he goes through a lot of pens :). Blessings to you, my friend!
Candace-I love that you are one of my writing friends and we should definitely work on meeting each other since we live so close! I sensed your deepness and spirit the first time I visited your blog. Don’t you love that God gives each of us a story and He loves that we are willing to share it with others? Thank you for participating and I can’t wait to read your post next week and meet your friends!
I would love to get together sometime, Mary! Let’s definitely work on that :).
Oh my it would be wonderful!
Thanks for explaining to us how this cameto pass and who offers you support. Isn’t God perfect!
You’re welcome! It was great connecting with you last night. Thank you for your encouragement. Friends like you keep me working toward my passion.
Yay!!! You did it and it is wonderful, Mary! Love your answers to the writing questions and the introductions of your bloggy friends. Of course, I know Barbie, and have been getting to know Linda. Candace is new to me and I look forward to getting to checking out her site too. Thanks so much for playing along, friend. Much love!
Thank you for inviting me! I am blessed to have those who lead the way before me and are willing to bring me along side them. Thank you for being that person for me! Love you!
Loved your words, Mary. And not just because you introduced me! I hear your heart through your pen. And I join you in that ‘fierce momma’s love’ … and I extend that to the little ones of the next generation! So cool to get to know you at a deeper level in this lovely, welcoming space.
My post is just about ready to go for next Monday, and my own lovely ladies are lined up ready to jump right in feet first.
Thanks for the invite. It’s just too fun to hop with you and yours!
I love that I call you friend and that a short period of time has connected the two of us. I am interested in your next step as a blogging coach and know that you will do great because of your spirit of encouragement. I can’t wait to read all the answers to your questions next week and to meet your friends! This Blog Hop has been such a blessing and I love that it is being paid forward! Love you friend!