Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I usually write on a topic I’m neck-deep in the middle of wrestling. That means, I write in spurts. As God is teaching me a certain truth, I might write and write and write over the span of a few days. Then, I let it ferment for a while. I do additional research, prayer, study. As God opens my eyes, ears, and heart to understand more, I’ll return to the book and edit, revise, or add accordingly. Writing isn’t a black-and-white process for me, as it really takes places in the trenches of my real and raw life.
How do you find or make time to write?
Good question! Some days, I have no idea. :) As of right now, I still have three of my six children living at home, which means my day-to-day parenting responsibilities are significant. In addition, I lead a mastermind for Christian women in leadership, record a podcast, coach numerous leaders and communications, and travel and speak around the world. I’ve discovered that for me the best way to tackle big writing projects is to schedule one weekend a month to hunker down in a hotel or AirB&B away from home and write like a mad woman. I can get more accomplished in those three to four days away than I can get done in a whole month at home while juggling work, marriage and kids. My other secret writing window? 5:00 in the morning, before anyone else in my family is awake.
What book are you reading right now?
Only one?! I’m actually reading about 6 or 7 books right now! A couple of my favorites include The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning, Making Sense of God by Timothy Keller, and The Question That Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey.
What do you to relax on a weekend?
I read as much as possible, work in the yard, or go for a walk, hike or run in the mountains. Oh, and NAP. A perfect weekend always includes a good long nap.
What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
Such a great question, and one I contemplate often as someone who's survived cancer three times and has no guarantee of a long life. In truth, I feel quite grateful with what God has already allowed me to experience and accomplish. My forty-six years of life have been quite extraordinary, and I savor the gift. However, I would still like to see my children’s children someday and be a “Mimi.” I’d also like to hike a few more Colorado 14er mountains and travel to Israel. Israel has long been a dream trip of mine, and it just hasn’t happened. YET.
What is your favorite childhood book?
I loved, loved, loved the Little House on the Prairie series. In fact, I’m pretty sure I read through every volume at least three or four times.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
I sat down to write my first articles, stories and books because I needed some way to make sense of the complexity, confusion and suffering of my life and faith. I had so many questions, things I didn’t understand or know how to reconcile with the God I grew up believing. Writing was therapy, a means of unraveling all the knotted emotions and doubts, and helping me to see Truth. In short, writing helped me find the presence of God in the middle of the mess.
When did you decide to become a writer?
It wasn’t so much a decision as an accidental stumbling. Well over a decade ago, I was leading a women’s Bible study at my church that grew from a handful of women to over 80 in a very short amount of time. As a result, I needed to find a way to stay connected with each woman. It was impossible to touch each one at our Tuesday night Bible studies! Thus, I began writing weekly devotional emails to the group. This became my way of personally investing these women that I loved. Over time, those emails became blog posts, then articles and eventually books.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Oh, I have so many favorite authors, so many who have deeply impacted my spiritual life and writing life! Corrie ten Boom was, perhaps, my first female writing hero. Her story, ruthless honesty, and absolute faith in God in spite of the unanswered questions were fuel to my teenage faith. Since then, writers like A. W. Tozer, Brother Lawrence, Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, C. S. Lewis, Philip Yancey, Henri Nouwen, Jill Briscoe and Dallas Willard have continued to fuel that fire and have helped me navigate the deeper waters of faith and life. These authors wrote (write) with a humble and courageous honesty about their humanity. I'd like to think I’ve borrowed a bit of their bravery as I strive to write with that same authenticity.
Tell us something about yourself not many people know.
I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and hold an active nursing license. I haven’t practiced in two decades, but I keep my license “just in case.”