My writing friend, Ginger Solomon, nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.

Now for the blog award. Having accepted, here are the rules I now must follow:

The Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Put the award logo on your blog.
3. Answer the 10 questions they’ve sent you.
4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

So here are the 10 questions from Ginger:

1. What does it mean to you to be a living sacrifice?
It means to me that my sacrifice is a daily and conscious choice. It’s about “being bought with a price” and honoring God with my body. I also love the way that God promises to care and feed me daily.

2. What are your writing plans for 2015?
I’m pulling together material for three professional critiques at FCWC and working with Shellie Arnold to begin a chapter of Word Weavers in Ohio. Out of that I hope to complete a devotional collection, a Bible Study, and a non-fiction book.

3. What are your long-term writing goals?
I would like to write a Bible Study on Philippians and see it published. And I would like to complete my book on the Prodigal Personalities.

4. What would you do with a million dollars?
I would invest it so my husband and I could retire and live off the interest.

5. Was 2014 what you expected it to be?
No. I expected to be a prolific writer.

6. What would you change about 2014, if you could?
I would pull out of my mental funk much earlier so that I could have written enough that I didn’t have to go back to work.

7. Your word for 2015 is habit. Name a good habit, besides exercise (it’s on your site), that you plan to implement in the new year.
Accountability. I know I need it so I have hooked up with individuals (thank you Ginger!), and face to face and online critique groups through Word Weavers.

8. What one book do you plan to read in 2015, besides the Bible?
I’m going to finish Steven James’ Story Trumps Structure.

9. What is your favorite season? Why?
Spring! I love the way the earth seems to wake up after winter. I love the greening. I love flowers…especially lilacs.

10. What is your favorite food? Why?
Just one? I love yummy food. I just turned to Nelson and asked him what my favorite food is and he answered exactly like I would: it’s a toss up between lobster bisque (he picked that because of the way my face looks when I eat it) and good pizza. He’s right.

Now you know more about me than you probably wanted. I nominate Mary Scro whose blog can be found at . Here are your questions, Mary, if you choose to accept.

1. If life is not a formula, what is it? Can you sum it up in 25 words or less?
2. What are your writing goals for 2015?
3. Are you a plotter or a panster?
4. Where is your favorite place to write?
5. What was a highlight from 2014 for you?
6. How do you decide what to write?
7. Cats or dogs?
8. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind is best for you?
9. What’s your best stress reliever?
10. Tell us about your retreat ministry.

Advent 14: Christmas Cookies

I love Christmas cookies. I love cookie exchanges.

My mom never made Christmas cookies–any cookies, actually. It wasn’t until I was in Girl Scouts that I ever iced sugar cookies.

Did I mention I love cookies? I don’t think I ever met a problem a Doule Stuff Oreo (or whole bag) couldn’t solve. I have eaten way more than my fair share in my fifty-six years.

Last Christmas a friend invited me over to decorate cookies. It sounded like fun so I showed up. She had several bowls of homemade icing and trays and trays of cut-out cookies in all the traditional Christmas shapes.

I sat down at the table and very carefully and gingerly began to ice and decorate with sprinkles.

She laughed at me. Then she asked me what I was doing.

I looked at her rather shocked at first. I mean, what did it look like I was doing. Then it dawned on me that she had finished decorating a half dozen cookies to my one. I was so afraid to “mess up” that I was not enjoying the experience at all. My perfectionism was totally tying me up and shutting me down.

My friend then very quickly went to work assuring me that there was no wrong way to do this. She’s a very wise woman. I decided to believe her. The result was that we had a fun time. In the end there were plenty of iced cookies and neither of us were fretting about the icing or sprinkles on the table…I don’t think we were fretting at all.

And a truth seed was planted in my heart that brought a breath of freedom into my life.

Too often my perfectionistic roots strangle my creativity, my living, and living life to its fullest (See John 10:10). I have noticed that I’m not alone in this as I have listened to friends discuss their struggle with finding and doing God’s will…his perfect will.

Choices that I made in my life really messed things up for me. I was afraid life was over. Somehow I thought that life progressed in a straight line moving up. But it looked more like a jumbled mess.

What if the truth is that God loves us enough to let us make mistakes? What if there isn’t one plan/path and if we don’t find it and only walk down that one and instead meander a little? What if there isn’t one perfect job, but a series of jobs where we have the opportunity to touch many lives and make a difference in many places? What if there isn’t one perfect mate, but more than one…or none?

There are those who would consider such thinking blasphemous. I wonder what they do when the cords get jumbled up?

There is a verse that is often quoted from Jeremiah: For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

There is certainly comfort in that verse…but it’s also pretty vague. And when you put it in context it’s even more interesting. Go ahead read the whole chapter.

Life is not always neat and tidy. Sometimes it’s jumbled up. Sometimes it’s even messier than a table after preschoolers attempt to decorate Christmas cookies. But God is still there. He’s still planning for hope and a future. He can make something beautiful if you’ll ease up and let him.

He is after all, the one who promised to give us life…life to the fullest.

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