"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Help Title My Next Novel!

Dear Reader:

YOU can help title my next novel!

Any chance you can give me about three minutes of your time and take a quick six question survey to help my publisher decide the title for my next novel? My debut chick-lit novel called A Stitch in Time just released from Bethany House. My second novel will release next June. Bethany House is trying something new in utilizing a public survey to help decide on the title for my next novel. I won’t share with you the title I like best – but if you will click on this link below and take the short six question survey I will be so very appreciative. Stay tuned to our blog and web site for the announcement when the final title decision is made.

Feel free to pass the survey link on to anyone you think would be interested in participating! I will be really grateful. I would love to send everyone who responds a box of chocolates (Whitman’s Samplers) if I could, but alas … sigh … no can do. But hey – the thought is there!

You need to complete the survey within the next few days – please.

Click here: Help title Allison’s next “Lady-Lit” novel.

If the link doesn’t work, type this:

Blessings and hugs to all!

Friday, June 23, 2006


Contributing Authors Sign Books at Barnes & Nobel!

Our Contributing Authors Make a Difference! We want to share the wonderful news and experiences of some of the book signing events our contributing authors have been holding. A dozen contributing authors have held events throughout the USA in the last two months!

Connie Pombo, “Living the Passionate Life” (God Allows U-Turns for Women), Susan Kelly Skitt, “A Test of Faith” (Women’s), Carolyn Ruch, “Ever After” (Women’s) & “Sentence Overturned” (God Allows U-Turns for Teens), and Tammy Gehman, “My Favorite Color is Red” (Women’s) are a group of contributing authors from Pennsylvania who have been tearing up the town with multiple book signings!

Here is an update from Connie Pombo:

We had a great turnout at the Barnes and Nobel store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and the CR manager requested 12 of each book (women and teens) to be autographed and left for purchase. Wow! Our next one is in North Wales on May 28.

Afterwards, we went out for dinner at Carrabbas Italian Grille and planned our next venture. Susan is excellent as a PR person; she worked the floor passing out U-Turn tracts! We had a "U-Turns" basket to give away, lots of chocolate and freebies! We had a great time!!!

Our next book signing/discussion at the Barnes and Nobel in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania on Saturday May 27 went really well. We were at the front of the store with our U-turns table, U-Turns give-away basket, and passed out frappuccinos--courtesy of Barnes and Noble! It was a great way to connect with our "audience" before the book discussion. The balloons and display generated a lot of interest and we had a great crowd for the Memorial Day Weekend.

During the discussion we each took 3-5 minutes to discuss our U-Turn story. Afterwards we opened it up to questions from the audience and then went into the signing.

Before we left the store, we autographed copies of the books and placed stickers on each to leave with the store manager. Afterwards we went out to eat at the Macaroni Grille with the "hubbies"! It was a great book signing and we look forward to June 3 in North Wales!

The four authors met again on June 3rdt for another event

We had our third U-Turns book signing at the Barnes and Noble in North Wales, PA and it was a great success--thanks to the rain! We were placed right in front of the store by the café. Susan had a wonderful display of a recent newspaper article of her poignant story.

Our signing was from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM--having the extra time was a big plus! We all remembered to wear our white jackets this time. We found that dressing like the cover of the book: blue, white, yellow, and black draws interest and creates a conversation piece for us to share our stories.

There's so much camaraderie when authors get together, and the customers that come into the store can sense and feel our passion and excitement. It makes it easy for them to approach us and gives us opportunity to share our God Allows U-Turn stories.

Blessings to our Pennsylvania team! This is an amazing way to share the gospel with the world! Let us know if you've had an opportunity to meet any of our contributing authors over the past few months, we'd love to hear from you!

And that's what's on my mind today.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Angie Hunt Rocks!

I’m trying very hard to post daily, like so many of my friends and mentors do. But alas, I am having one heck of a time being profoundly pithy! So, I checked out Angela Hunt’s blog today for her words of wisdom and what do I find as her blog topic? Her recent Netflix video rental!

“Okay,” I said to myself. “I can do this. I can blog about things like this.”

I watched The Producers last night and never knew Matthew Broderick could sing and dance. I’ve always loved Nathan Lane. And yes, if I believed in reincarnation, which I do not, I would want to come back as Uma Thurman.

Visit Angela Hunt’s blog – she’s brilliant.

That’s what’s on my mind today.

Monday, June 19, 2006


A Word About Mentors

Regarding Mentors …

Our last celebrity guest Blogger, Dena Dyer, recently posted about “Mentors.” (You can scroll down to read her message below.) Her message made me think about another aspect to mentoring.

I’d love to hear from readers about mentors in your life who have helped you although they are not specifically your personal mentor in the sense that they have knowingly come alongside to help you. I’ve found in my journey over the past years that I have learned from amazing people with servant hearts who teach what they know in group settings—and thus become mentors without being fully aware they are doing so.

“Mentor” means; “A trusted counselor or guide.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that we intimately know the person who has mentored us – or vice versa.

A prime example is my relationship with best selling author, speaker and teacher, Gayle Roper. The photo above was recently taken at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference last month.

Many years ago I attended a “Writing for Fiction” class Gayle taught at the Glorietta Christian Writers Conference. I had met Gayle briefly at a CLASS Seminar but as a newbie I was horribly intimidated by her talent. Yet she was oh so gracious. Later, I ordered the cassette tape set from her and used it extensively to study how to write my first novel. Although we are sisters-in-the-Lord, Gayle and I are not close personal friends in that either of us knows intimate details of one another’s life – but we do occasionally email and we frequently run into each other at writer’s conferences. I do not call her up for personal mentoring advice, although I did ask if she would read and endorse my debut novel (which she most graciously did.)

And yet I consider Gayle Roper one of the strongest mentors I have ever had.

I have read many of her books, studied her teachings, and I’ve heard her give several keynote addresses over the years. I have learned greatly from this awesome woman of God. I’m not sure she’s even aware how much she has touched my life.

Let’s hear from others who have mentors who might not even be aware of what they have done for your life and/or for your career.

And remember, everyone who posts a comment to our blog will be entered into a prize drawing for free books at the end of the month.

Have a blessed day!

And that’s what’s on my mind today.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Adios and Thanks!

Day Six of Six
June 18, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Dena Dyer

I have really enjoyed the opportunity to post about my U-Turn. Thanks, Allison, for being so generous with this platform. It's been wonderful!

My passions are faith, family and communicating about the love and peace of Jesus through singing, speaking, and writing. I enjoy teaching others about writing, too--so if you would like to see the writing classes I teach (they're online!), hop on over to Writers Helper.

My latest book is the second volume in a "book-i-lation" series called The Groovy Chicks' Road Trip to Love, and you can find out more about the crazy gals "The Groovy Chicks" and all our exploits at our funtabulous website.

For more info on my speaking or other books, I'd love for you to drop by my website. And if you're in the mood to read another blog, mine (especially for other busy moms) is here.

If anything I've said has touched your heart, I'd love for you to drop me a line at mailto:denadyer@sbcglobal.net.

Have a blessed Father's Day! I'm thankful for my daddy--and my Heavenly Father, too.

Dena Dyer
Amazing Grace-land, my blog:

P.S. from Allison: If something our Celebrity Guest Blogger shared today
touched you, we welcome your comments. Simply click on the comments
below. By posting a comment, your name will automatically be entered
into a
prize drawing for FREE BOOKS. We will randomly select two names at the
of each month to receive a special gift of GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS books.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


A Mentor's Role

Day Five of Six
June 17, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Dena Dyer

(continuing story)

One of the other things God used to help me make a U-Turn back to Him was a young woman I "mentored." My hubby had talked to her mom at our church and found out that Chansin was interested in writing as a career. Beyond that, she was a leader in her youth group and was the editor of her school paper. Carey said she was looking for a mentor and he thought we might hit it off.

Little did he know! I spent time with Chansin over a year's time, helping with scholarship application essays and praying with and for her.

But you know what? In reality, she was the one doing the mentoring! Her passion for God, her boldness at sharing her faith, her absolute devotion to Christ--was convicting to me. She was who I was in high school....and now, I was someone else...someone without that pure devotion.

I'm proud to say that I was the learner, and she the teacher. I'm also proud of her--she became one of four finalists for the Brio girl during the year we met together.

I have other people who have been instrumental in my life as mentors. Among them are my friend and tearoom lunch buddy Ruthie Arnold, who has helped me become a better writer, and who introduced me to her daughters, Becky Freeman and Rachel St. John. They, in turn, introduced me to wonderful Christian authors and speakers like Ellie Kay and Gracie Malone. (And let's not forget Lee Hough, who's a guy and a literary agent but who encouraged me anyway!) LOL

In the Christian book industry, the legendary Littaurs, this blog's generous and dedicated "mama" Allison Bottke, and MANY others ahead of me on the path have been instrumental in helping me discern my calling, develop my confidence and make invaluable contacts.

Other women of faith, like Karol Ladd, Esther Burroughs, Donna Partow and Karen O'Connor, I have only met briefly in small group situations. They have always been kind to answer email or in-person questions, and I'm thankful for their witness and continuing faithfulness to God. And then there are wonderful women of faith that I've never met in person:

Can you tell mentoring is a passion? I simply can't imagine what my life would be like without the godly influence of these women who are serving as the "Paul" to my "Barnabus." (And there are MANY others who I haven't mentioned by name. God has truly allowed me a multitude of mentors. I'm very grateful.)

Would you consider mentoring and/or being mentored? If you're busy (and we all are) it may take some creative scheduling--but I promise you, if you make the time to invest in someone's life, or if you allow someone who's listening to God on a regular basis to speak into your life, you WILL be blessed!

Till tomorrow--
Dena Dyer
My blog:

P.S. from Allison: If something our Celebrity Guest Blogger shared today
touched you, we welcome your comments. Simply click on the comments
below. By posting a comment, your name will automatically be entered
into a
prize drawing for FREE BOOKS. We will randomly select two names at the
of each month to receive a special gift of GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS books.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


God's Power Within

Day Four of Six
June 16, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Dena Dyer

(continued from Day Three)

So began my quest to get back to the state of faith I describe as “revolutionary.” With God’s help, I began to seek out people, places, and conversations that would help me become passionate. Along the way, I discovered that if I was going to follow Jesus like He asked, I would have to make some tough decisions. I might even have to be willing to be considered weird, or countercultural. For sure, I was going to have to be brave--because the world had changed. The media, political climate, and society at large wasn’t as friendly to Christians as it had been when I first came to Christ.

And as Kathy Troccoli says, “There is so much white noise in our culture. We overlook opportunities to feast at the feet of Jesus. We don’t ‘fine dine’ with Him. There is change and transformation when we meet Him there.”

Around the time that my own change was happening, I read a book called Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. It’s a classic tale of a futuristic society in which love equals sex, feelings are considered dangerous, and uniformity is king. In Huxley’s version of the world, a drug called “soma” is handed out like candy to keep the masses in line with the status quo. Materialism is encouraged, happiness is the ultimate goal (achieved by any means necessary) and media is used as a hypnotic tool. Sound familiar?! :)

Mr. Helmhotz Watson, one of the characters in Brave New World, said something to another character that struck a real chord with me. "Did you ever feel like as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of a power that you aren't using—you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?. . . I'm thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I've got something important to say and the power to say it – only I don't know what it is, and I can't make any use of the power."

That’s how I feel!

As God got a hold of me again, the writer/speaker in me began to long to share what I was finding with other women.

So I'm doing that--little by little, with God's power. He's the power I wasn't using. . . and He is giving me the ways to say something "important"--not only to audiences, but to my family, each day as I make the right decisions.

Is your water going down the falls or through the turbines?

Consider that today...and until tomorrow, be blessed by the awesome, extraordinary love of our wonderful Savior!

Dena Dyer

P.S. from Allison: If something our Celebrity Guest Blogger shared today has touched you, we welcome your comments. Simply click on the comments linkbelow. By posting a comment, your name will automatically be entered into aprize drawing for FREE BOOKS. We will randomly select two names at the endof each month to receive a special gift of GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS books.

Seeking God as a Busy Mom

Day three of six
June 15, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Dena Dyer

(continued story from day two)

Once God began calling me back to Him, I began responding. But as a busy mom, I still wasn't too sure how to best fit time with God into my day.

The contemplative in me longed for long, lazy stretches with God. I researched Benedictine retreat centers on the Internet and longed for my hubby and boys to go on a vacation—without me. If I just had a few days alone, I thought, I could rebound spiritually. I could confess of every sin I’d committed over the past few years, spend time fervently worshipping at Jesus’ feet, and pray for every need I’d ever heard about. (I know, I know—I tend to get carried away. My husband can “amen” that!)

The administrative side of me started planning out my days to include at least one and one-half hour of prayer and Bible study. The only problem? I have a rambunctious toddler, a seven year-old who craves lots of attention (and deserves it), a husband whose work schedule changes week-to-week, and a home business that helps pay the bills. My schedule went out the window the same week I made it—because the baby got croup.

Finally, I asked Him for some fresh ideas. And He gave them!

I began to see that it would be wrong of me to neglect my family for the sake of God—and that He wasn’t requiring that. Instead, He was actually pleased with my efforts and my desire to be more disciplined. God also revealed to me that my former “perfect attendance quiet time award” wasn’t something He had required. I had been prideful, and just plain wrong, to think that punching the clock with God would make Him love me more.

So I decided to take pockets of time during my day and put them to meditative use. I prayed while doing the dishes, read a devotional while waiting on my son in the pickup lane at school, and read scripture while working out on the elliptical machine at the gym.

Slowly, by changing my heart, He was changing my habits--because I was longing to be with Him. Just the fact that I missed Him when I couldn't spend time with Him was pleasing to me--and to God--because the desire hadn't been there for so long!

Patiently and lovingly, God reminded me that my carefree days were over—for now. Someday, I would have more free time (the youngest is only—sob!—three years away from kindergarten, after all). Sometimes, it was okay to go away by myself for a retreat—but I didn’t have to wait for that. I could spend time with Him every minute of every day.

In her wonderful book The Velveteen Mommy, Jenn Doucette says, “God wants us to be in constant communication with Him, aware of His continual presence, thanking Him for everything He gives us, praising Him for who He is, and yes, even crying to Him for emergency help. As moms, we can ‘practice the presence of God’ (in the words of Brother Lawrence) as we go through our day by staying in constant communication with Him. I find that the more I do this, the more He miraculously opens up quiet moments in my day or evening when I can sit and truly focus on Him.”

Gradually, I’ve come to the conclusion (and this is difficult for a recovering control freak) that the best “system” for pursuing God just might not be a system at all. So some days, I get up early (okay, that’s rare—but I have been known to attend an early morning prayer group once in a while!), some days I study while the baby naps, and some days I get my sitter to come early so I can spend a couple of hours alone with God before I start writing.

I’ve finally realized that a devotional life—like everything else in life—has its seasons. (Once, a college Bible study teacher told me to “enjoy my singleness” while I had it, because after marriage and kids, it would be hard to find time with God. At the time, I scoffed. I wanted to be married so badly, I didn’t revel in what I had—unlimited time, disposable income, and no one depending on me.)

So as a mom of young kids, I’m trying to re-learn what I should have let God instill years ago…contentment with my circumstances. I don’t want to go back to the place where I ignore God—that doesn’t please Him, or do me any good. But I don’t have to berate myself just because I fall asleep praying once in a while…or because I can’t tackle a Beth Moore study every twelve weeks. God knows where I’m at—He gave me these kids, and this hubby. He understands!!!
What freedom there is in that...especially for a recovering overachiever.

More tomorrow--thanks for reading this far! :)

Dena Dyer
Amazing Grace-land, my blog:

P.S. from Allison: If something our Celebrity Guest Blogger shared today has touched you, we welcome your comments. Simply click on the comments link below. By posting a comment, your name will automatically be entered into a prize drawing for FREE BOOKS. We will randomly select two names at the end of each month to receive a special gift of GOD ALLOWS U-TURNS books.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


God's Disruptive, Delightful Love

Day Two of Six
June 14, 2006
Posted by Guest Blogger: Dena Dyer

"We have been called into a dynamic love affair--one that gives more than we could have ever hoped and demands more than we would freely give. To receive God's grace in Christ is to be brought into a revolutionary reign, not ushered into a quiet rest home! God's love is as disruptive as it is delightful, as demanding as it is delicious!" Scotty Smith, The Reign of Grace (Howard)

Yesterday, I mentioned that God got my attention recently and made me aware that I had lost the all-consuming passion of First Love with Jesus. And then, my patient, perfect Navigator showed me the way to make a U-Turn back to Him.

As I pondered what had happened, He gently revealed that I had let several things--the busyness of life, a well-placed dedication to my three awesome guys, fatigue and depression brought on by a continuing struggle with thyroid disease, and doubts and anger resulting from several big losses--dull my relationship to my wonderful Savior.

It was hard to admit that I had put Him down the list--especially because I was enjoying a new dream job as a book author and speaker to women's groups. To be completely honest, even as I was talking and writing about God to people, I wasn't making Him a priority. He wasn't a consuming fire like He had once been.

When He finally got my attention through a friend (see yesterday's post), I tried to deny that things were wrong. But in my heart, I couldn't shake the feeling that my buddy was in love with Jesus--and I was not. I wanted to go back to Him, but I was tentative.

I felt guilty, but not yet ready to confess my backslidden (to use a good-old Baptist word!) status to the Lord. So one night not long after God confronted me with my lukewarm-ness, I went searching for companionship and understanding in a book. As a read-a-holic, I often go to the written word for comfort.

So I pulled Tender Mercy for a Mother’s Soul by Angela Thomas off my shelf (I had bought it while doing research for my first book, a devotional book for busy moms) and started thumbing through it.

Suddenly, I caught my breath as I read: “Numbed by the hugeness of motherhood and spiritually paralyzed by the blur of the years rushing by, I was not growing deeper with God.”

Angela had walked the road I was on, and reading her book was the first step towards a new way of living. And God was faithful to me, as he was when He called Angela back to Him.

That night, and many times over the next few months, I did what I should have done in the first place: confessed my weakness, frailty and my disobedience to God. I told Him I missed the closeness we used to have, and wanted to be "on fire" for Him again.

And you know what? He didn’t laugh at me, strike me down with lightning or rake me over the coals.

On the contrary.

I felt peace as my loving Father whispered to me, “I’m so glad that you want to spend time with me. I love it when you do.”

More tomorrow--

Dena Dyer

Monday, June 12, 2006


Falling In Love Again

I want to thank Allison for the opportunity to share my story on her GAUT blog. I first met Allison several years ago at CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors and Speakers Services) speaker training conference, and I was impressed right away with her zeal about sharing people's U-Turn stories. She had just gotten an agent for the GAUT book series, and she gave me a button and asked me to submit a story. Since then, I've watched her (and the series) take off and fly, and have been excited about the opportunities the Lord has given her. I love her ideas, her zest for life, and her passion for using her talents--and developing others' gifts--for God.

Over the next few days, I want to share a recent U-Turn that God has allowed me to make. You might recognize yourself somewhere in the story...

"Don’t you just love it?” my friend Theresa asked. She smiled at me over her soda as bad country tunes played scratchily on the roller-rink speakers.

“The music?” I asked, grimacing. Birthday parties at the skating rink weren’t my favorites—but at least they gave me a chance for some adult conversation.

Theresa laughed. “No, silly,” she said. “That feeling you get, when you’re with Jesus, and He just sweeps you off your feet.”

“Oh, that,” I said, glancing down at my baby as I jiggled the stroller with my foot. Feeling strange, I scanned the kids near the snack area to see if my older son was around.

“It’s so wonderful when I’m with Him!” she gushed.

I mumbled something in return, about how I understood, but soon I made excuses to leave.
Later, I thought about what she’d said, and I realized with remorse that I had felt like Theresa did—years ago. It had been way too long since I craved time alone with the Lover of my Soul.

What had happened? That night, I got alone and asked myself when I had let myself fall away from my First Love.

I became a Christian at the tender age of seven—and lived out a pretty passionate faith through my growing up years. Though my past was far from perfect, I could remember being quite bold and different from the world in college. And when I graduated, I served as a missionary for two years, where I met my husband.

So when had the fire cooled? I concluded it must have been around the time I had suffered a miscarriage and gone through a depression. Then my husband and I were blessed with demanding jobs, children, and bills. Life’s stuff had happened, and because of stress, busyness, and daily-ness, I had let my passion for Christ dwindle. While I didn’t stray from my faith, I wasn’t too occupied with the things of the Lord. Instead, I found myself consumed with diapers, dishes, and deadlines.

Maybe you've been there--or you're there now. I hope you'll join me again tomorrow as I share how God wooed me back, and helped me make a U-Turn...right back into His arms.

Much love--

Dena Dyer - Next Guest Blogger!

Dear Readers:

A very special thank you to Sharen Watson for sharing her passion and purpose with us this past week. I was in Wheaton, Illinois at the Write-to-Publish Conference and will be posting an update on that fabulous conference soon.

But first, let me introduce you to our next Guest Blogger who begins her six days of postings tomorrow! Dena Dyer hails from Texas and I'm sure we'll be blessed by her insights this week.

In her own words...

As a busy mom, wife, author, and speaker, I adore my life—but there are days when I definitely want my own mommy! Thankfully, I have God, my mom, and a Christian counselor on speed dial. I’ve been married to my soul mate, Carey, for ten years. We have two boys (who are ALL boy), Jordan , 8, and Jackson, 2, and we live in Texas.

When I’m not desperately trying to find my keys or cell phone, I enjoy writing, reading, blogging, and cuddling with my three boys. My hobbies B.K.--before kids--included scrapbooking, watching old movies, and decorating. Now, my interests (obsessions?) are napping, eating, working out to work off what I eat, and playing Bunco with my girlfriends.

Essays I’ve written have appeared in over a dozen anthologies such as Simple Pleasures of Friendship (Conari), The Heart of a Mother (Bethany House), Humor for the Teacher’s Heart (Howard) and Divine Stories of the Yahweh Sisterhood (Legacy).

My book credits include Grace for the Race: Meditations for Busy Moms (Barbour), The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Peace (Cook/Life Journey) and The Groovy Chicks’ Road Trip to Love (Cook/Life Journey), both with Laurie Barker Copeland.

Thank you, Dena, for being our next God Allows U-Turns Guest Blogger!

Have a blessed evening to all!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


My Final Thoughts for the Week

Day Seven of Seven
June 11, 2006

I can’t believe it’s the last day of my BLOG debut! I hope you have enjoyed my posts and that God has touched you in some way through them. I think the main point I want to leave you with, is this – God has a purpose for you. You just have to release all of your own goals and plans. I realize that is much easier said than done. Believe me, I struggled, battled really, to make my own way before the Lord had finally had it with me and just said, "Enough!"

This is the point where U-Turns occur, and that is the heart of Allison Bottke’s U-Turns ministry. Thank you, Allison!

He tells us in His Word that we have purpose in Him and His plans are good for us. Why in the world do we run around striving to find our own purpose? Here’s a Scripture I think speaks volumes…

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)

If we live in Him and desire to follow after Him, He will see to it that His purpose prevails. No ifs, ands or buts. And from experience, I’d rather not fight against that purpose, because He tells us in His Word…

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Oh, my friends, some life experiences can be extremely difficult. I know. I’ve lived through many of them. Abuse, poverty, low self-esteem, single parent household (all of these, to name a few, are just a portion my childhood experience). And I’m telling you, if God can turn my life around, He can and will do the same for you. He is faithful!

Aside from the ministry of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild, the Lord has called me to women’s ministry. Speaking for women’s groups is a passion the Lord has given me. Ministering at retreats and other women’s events is a natural outflow of what the Lord has done in my life. I’m also writing a book series specific to relevant issues of women today. If He can work out the mess of my life’s past, He can work in anyone’s life. "Words For A Woman’s Journey" best captures what He desires to share from my heart to yours. And the same Scripture applies…

"because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me…"
Luke 11:6 (NIV)

I would love to hear from y’all to know who’s been keeping up with my guest appearance on Allison’s BLOG. As an incentive, for the first person that emails me with "God Allows U-Turns BLOG" in the email subject line, I will mail you a free copy of God Allows U-Turns for Women or God Allows U-Turns for Teens. Even though I only shared from my story in the women’s volume, I also have a story in the teen book. You can email me at IRite4Him@aol.com.

If you are looking for a speaker for your women’s event, I would love to talk more with you about speaking topics, etc… If you are interested in starting a branch of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild, I’d be happy to help you establish this ministry in your area. I’m also available to speak at Christian writing conferences. Just put your need into the subject line of your email.

Now Father, I ask You to bless those who are reading these words. If there is need for a U-Turn in any of their lives, I pray that You would pave the way so they can see the change of direction easily and follow it without complaint or restraint. Make plain the paths You have set before each one, Lord, and give them each the courage to follow them, step-by-step. In the Name of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus, we pray…AMEN.

Be blessed y’all!

Eternally His,
Sharen Watson

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Seasons of our Spirits

Day Six of Seven
June 10, 2006

Welcome back to my sixth day of BLOG-dom. This week has been a learning experience for me because, I have never been a BLOGGER. And since Allison is off gallivanting (Is it someplace fun?) once again, she left me in charge of posting. And I will figure out the whole "more than one picture" per BLOG difficulty I’ve been having. How did Heather do that? Oh yes…back to BLOGGING…There are a few BLOGS I read when I have the time, but unfortunately, time is a precious commodity around here. Of course, Allison’s BLOG is an exception. I’ve been enjoying each guest. Everyone has shared their own distinct messages and I’ve been encouraged by all of them. I pray that my U-Turn story to Words For The Journey has blessed you in its own unique way as well.

Today, I’m going to share something completely different, because I believe that our life’s seasons can be equated with U-Turns. One of the topics I especially enjoy speaking to women’s groups about are spiritual seasons, how they transition from one to the next, and what that looks like. Let’s see, to put you in the right frame of mind, I’ll include a photo of my new home, one of the outside photo that give me inspiration and feed the allegory I use to compare weather related seasons to the seasons of our lives.
God is God over the seasons of His Creation…

"And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years’"

Genesis 1:14 (NIV)

And, I am so glad to know that He is God over the seasons of my spirit. I love what He says in His Word about the days of our lives, but one verse delights me each time I read or recall it.

"One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."

Psalm 27:4 (NIV)

According to the previous Scripture in Genesis, God separated the days from the nights by setting the lights in the sky. And eventually those days turn to seasons, just like the days of our lives and our spirits.

Looking back over my previous postings, they indicate not only a U-Turn, but a change of season. There was no avoiding it, even with all of my DO and DO attitude. God took me from the busy days of summer (DO-ing time) to the uncomfortable transition of fall (Remember my longing to pick up the juggling balls that weren’t mine?), and then into winter. Oh winter… A time of solitude, stripping away and undercover growth. I surrendered to the winter, just like nature. As my physical body recovered with stillness, my spirit did the same. There is no other choice, really. When this season comes, life, for the most part, rests. Some of it even dies.

But then, with the melting of the snows and the warmth of the sun, life blossoms once again. The seed lying dormant (actually without life) bursts to the surface, and trees, stripped of unnecessary burdens of useless branches, strengthened in hidden moments under the frozen ground, burst into color once again. It is spring, glorious spring! And life is new again.

And the repetition of the cycle is all it is meant to be – a series of U-Turns. And the choices we make to cooperate with the One Who created us, the One Who loves us most, are a crucial part of our journey through the seasons of our spirit.

What season are you currently experiencing? Know that it is meant for your good. God made the seasons to serve His divine purpose and you, precious One are part of His divine plan.

God Bless Y’all! Enjoy the weekend! I’ll be back tomorrow with my final thoughts for the week. Again, thanks Allison, wherever you are, for allowing me to share my journey.

Until tomorrow…I am fully aware and amazed by…

…His Lavish Love for you and me,

Sharen Watson

Friday, June 09, 2006


Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild

Day Five of Seven

I am so enjoying this BLOG-ing gig! Thank you, Allison for inviting me to participate. I hope y’all are enjoying my U-Turn story.

As of yesterday, I wrapped up the BLOG by telling you that my U-Turn was not quite complete. In fact, there was a U-Turn within a U-Turn. Is that like a double negative? More like a double positive if you ask me.

When my husband’s career decided to move us to Colorado, I was apprehensive to say the least. My heart (attached to my two older children) really struggled with the fact that we would be residing in different states, miles from each other. We prayed, and asked others to pray about whether this was the right move for us, and all indications pointed positively toward transfer. Most of all, it was a struggle of the wills, mine vs. the Lord’s. I have learned that it is better to be obedient and say yes the first time instead of taking the long way around. So the final leg of, or if you prefer, the new U-Turn began.

I never anticipated opening a new branch of Words For The Journey. I didn’t plan to, and I even substantially thinned out my files of WFTJ materials before we packed. Blessed to have served the members of WFTJ for nearly two years, I thought that a season of my life was simply coming to a close.

Since I never tightly gripped WFTJ with any kind of ownership, leaving my role as director was easily accomplished by just passing the torch to Linda Kozar. The hard part was leaving the members. I had grown to love each of them as precious sisters and brothers in Christ. My consolation was that I would visit as often as possible. My children were still there after all.

August 4, 2006 was moving day (I discussed that in my first BLOG post). Two months later, once we were almost out of boxes, I visited a writing group called, Jubilant Writers led by Jan Parrish, someone I had met online earlier that year. She knew I was headed that way, and invited me to attend. What I didn’t know was that the Lord was leading Jan to exclusive time serving another ministry.

Once again, the Holy Spirit started opening doors. And having learned obedience before, I gladly stepped through each one. Once again, prayer and fasting were in order. If the Lord wanted a new branch of WFTJ, it would be established by His hand – again.

After spending time in prayer myself, I asked to Lord to direct me to someone I could partner with, someone who had strength where I had lack, someone who would pray, love and care for the members of Words For The Journey. Megan DiMaria was a faithful member of Jan’s group and the Lord wasted no time in showing me that she was the one He wanted ministering with me. Our talents and gifts compliment one another, and she has been a huge blessing. I’m so grateful to the Lord for putting us together.

And because both of us desired to submit Words For The Journey – Rocky Mountain Region into God’s hands, we surrendered it together in prayer before opening the group. We asked the Lord to reign over it and lead it according to His plan. Besides being faithful to pray, Megan was instrumental in finding a place for us to meet. She spoke with the staff of her church, Southeast Christian Church, and they welcomed our group, providing a place for us to meet weekly. By the way, the Lord also opened the door to continue our ministry of once monthly outreaches at Barnes and Noble in Lone Tree, CO.

Is there more to this U-Turn? I don’t know, but if there is, I’m going do my best to listen for God’s leading and obey His direction. I’m completely in awe of His GREAT works and ministry through Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild so far, and can’t wait to see what else He has in store.

Until tomorrow…

Eternally Grateful for His Grace,
Sharen Watson


Thursday, June 08, 2006


U-Turn To Words For The Journey (cont.)

Day Four of Seven

And now, without further adieu, here is the final installment of my U-Turn to the inception Words For The Journey…

Looking back to yesterday, I’ll once again repeat the last sentence of my previous post.

"On the first refrain, I rose to my feet, raised my hands, and knew in that moment that surrender was sweet."

The Bible study had ended, but without any hesitation I continued walking in the freedom of rest. The constancy of DO-ing was in my past, and that was where it was going to stay.

A couple of months later, I spoke with a couple of friends, who like me, enjoyed writing. None of us were pursuing publication at that point, but each of us was eager to learn more about our passion for words. I casually mentioned that we should meet and talk about writing. Maybe even help one another with getting published. Just a small gathering, maybe once every couple of weeks. If anyone else wanted to join us, they could. We could look over each other’s work, help with grammar, and whatever else writers do. We would have to look into that process.

I asked my friend, Linda, "Why don’t you start this group for us?" And she looked back at me and asked the very same thing.

"Sharen, I really feel like the Lord wants you to organize this thing." Hesitant, because of the Lord’s directed season of rest, I told her I would pray about it.

I repeated the same question to another friend who was a prolific journal writer. I had seen some of her journal entries. They were beautiful. Surely she would want to start the group. Instead of, "Sure, I’ll start it," Rhonda repeated the same thing as Linda. "Why don’t you start it. I’ll do all I can to help."

I asked one more friend, and again, there was that reply. "Why don’t you start a group, Sharen?"

Three people who I knew were capable of leading a small group like ours all said the very same thing. So I told each of them I would pray. And I did, fervently. After all, I had just been through a major life struggle with my DO-er attitude. I needed to be VERY clear whether or not the Lord desired this responsibility. His answer was quick.

I’ll do this thing. You just be obedient.

I took that message to my writing friends. "I’ll do it, but I want us to pray together about what this is supposed to look like. It’s not my group, but God’s, and that’s the way it will stay." They wholeheartedly agreed, and we met the following week in Linda’s breakfast nook. We had each honored a time of fasting before we met and were eager to pray and worship together. I brought a CD with me that included THE song that so moved me, based on Song of Solomon 2:10-14.

The same lyrics that touched me now moved my friends, and all three of us spent time honoring and praising our Lord together. Each of us felt like we were headed in the right direction, but really didn’t have a plan so to speak. I asked each of the ladies to think about a name that might fit our group, and told them we should have a mission statement, a vision for our group and our purpose for existing. When I went home that afternoon, I expected to continue in prayer while the other ladies thought about everything we needed. I didn’t expect to be the one the Lord gave our name through.

The name,
Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild came to me almost as soon as I arrived home. I called Linda and asked her what she thought. She concurred.

And Father, what about a Scripture? I went to
www.biblegateway and looked up the word "journey." Luke 11:6 was the verse that immediately brought an understanding of the natural outflow of our group. Our prayer was to mentor writers by offering tools and encouragement by way of sharing whatever resources and knowledge we had available. "A friend of mine on a journey has come to me…" fit our purpose well. The Vision Statement and Purpose each followed easily.

Linda, Rhonda and I met again to pray and discuss the time and place of our meetings. We asked our church if they would provide a space for us. The staff of our fellowship,
WoodsEdge Community Church, welcomed us, providing a room for us to meet weekly. One month later, on September 19, 2003, Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild held its grand opening meeting. Through the course of more prayer, we also opened a monthly meeting at Barnes and Noble for those who can't make daytime meetings.

If you’re wondering about this business of my tendency toward DO-ing…
I knew, and believe you will understand (if you don’t already) the difference of DO-ing for doing sake versus stepping out in faith on a path clearly prepared before you.

Thank You, Lord for allowing U-Turns. Especially this one – The U-Turn from chaotic, frenzied busyness to the fulfillment of Your business.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the establishment of our newest chapter, Words For The Journey – Rocky Mountain Region. Here’s a little peek… I had no idea my U-Turn was still in process. Stay tuned…

Signing off for now... Sharen Watson

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


U-Turn to Words For The Journey (cont.)

Welcome back to the second installment to the "cliffhanger," U-Turn to Words For The Journey. Memories of the humble beginnings of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild have been occupying my thoughts this week. WFTJ – Rocky Mountain Region met yesterday, and as I opened the meeting in prayer, I was keenly aware of His hand in this ministry. But before I go to that, let’s move on to the rest of my journey to and through the CROSSroads.

Let us begin where I left off…

…That’s when I finally reached out to God, not as a DO-er, but as His daughter. "Where do I begin again?"

I remember at that point, reaching for my journal in the nightstand – and for His Word. I turned to Jeremiah. Known as the weeping prophet, I figured we at least had tears in common at that point. These are the words I read in Jeremiah 6:16:

"This is what the LORD says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’ But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’"

Choose the good way…Clearly, I had chosen wrong, veering off onto paths that weren’t mine to tread. Not only had I confused and exhausted myself, but think of those whose paths I had disturbed. I was horrified.

As I reflected on that Scripture, I felt the Spirit’s gentle nudge to sketch an image of the cross. So I did. But as I outlined this simple, yet profound symbol of my faith, I realized that I had not enclosed the four ends.

I paused and asked the Lord, "This is odd, Lord. Why would I leave the cross open-ended?" I read the Scripture again…

"Stand at the crossroads and look…"

Again, there was the gentle, yet unmistakable nudge of the Spirit. Once again, I put my pencil to the page, and dashed lines running through the open-ended cross were sketched in place. It was obvious. The cross = my CROSSroads.

"What is it, Lord?" I put the point of my pencil directly in the center of the cross.

There, my daughter…

"Oh, my God, my Lord." I cried, pressing the lead even further into the page. "Here I am. Where do I go?"

May I interject here that I did not here an audible voice throughout this process, but a very distinct impression that the Lord was showing me things I had refused to see before. I am in awe at the way He chooses to uniquely speak to each of His children in the way He knows we will understand.

I continued driving my pencil further into the thick page of my journal. Again, another clear impression…

Stay right there, Child. Stay at the center of the cross, at the heart of your Savior and press in. Don’t go left; don’t go right. Just press in – further still. I’m here.

My DO-er brain finally understood. Don’t do anything. Just stay here at the center of the cross, near to His heart. And another Scripture came to mind, Psalm 46:10

"Be still and know that I am God"

What precious relief! The DO-er had permission to "be still," and it felt right, finally.

Over the next few weeks, as my physical body gained strength, I was very selective in choosing my involvement. Attending, not teaching, a weekly Ladies Bible Study was the only thing I felt God’s direction toward. There were a few different study choices, but the one I chose was a study titled "Worship." The woman who taught it had pulled in many various resources to show us different expressions of worship.

One aspect was music. It just so happens that music touches me deeply, reaching into the depths of my emotions and spirit. Ten weeks passed, and the study continued. Speechless (not my norm), I soaked up every word taught, every song played. And then during the last study, the leader played THE song. I don’t know the artist who sang it. I only know the words were almost verbatim to Song of Songs 2:10-14. On the first refrain, I rose to my feet, raised my hands, and knew in that moment that surrender was sweet.

And now comes the fun part again. Sorry for the abrupt ending, but I once again bid you adieu with a cliffhanger. I’ll not make any promises, but tomorrow should be the culmination of my U-Turn and what it brought into my life. Y’all come back now, here?

Many blessings,
Sharen Watson

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


U-Turn to Words For The Journey

Welcome to my second day as guest on Allison Bottke’s BLOG. For some reason, Allison and I couldn’t get my picture to work on my first day’s introduction, so I wanted to be sure and include it today, and voila! It worked! That’s me in a picture taken by my husband against my faux-painted breakfast nook wall in Texas, before the big move north and west. My, what we can do with digital technology! Okay, so it didn't work. Sheesh! If you want to see who I am, you can mosey on over to my website www.wordsforthejourney.org. Hopefully, we can work this out so I can show you some other pictures I have to share.

Alright, back on task…Yesterday, I just wanted to give you a snapshot of who I am and what the Lord has assigned to me. An odd choice of words, I know, but I believe the things He is doing in my life, and yours, are exactly that – assignments. Words For The Journey was only birthed because it was His will to do so. Believe me when I say, He completely led the way. There was certainly no opportunity for dodging this particular path he laid before me. The only reason I can say that is because I was at the point of complete surrender. His will, His way…I wanted nothing more, nothing less. But, before "surrender" I was faced with a "CROSSroad." And that is what my story is about. You can see the story in its entirety in Allison’s latest book, God Allows U-Turns for Women. But I believe it bears worth repeating here, not verbatim, but from my heart once again.

Like so many young women, I was a go-er and a do-er, busy with this and that, accomplishing anything and everything that crossed my path. The necessities of life became burdens. After all, who really needs to sleep longer than 5 or 6 hours a night? And who says we need to eat with health in mind to sustain our energy? And while we’re at it, why in the world would God put so many tasks in front of me if He didn’t see fit for me to tackle each of them myself? And then, He pulled the emergency brake.

I found myself in bed with a low-grade fever, achy muscles, and absolutely no energy. In fact, I could barely get up for a minute at a time without feeling as though I would pass out. And after brief excursions, to the restroom and back, I would have to lie very still, letting the lingering affects of dizziness and nausea pass. The doctors passed it off as a virus and told me that I would just have to let it run its course.

One month passed, and I knew that all the proverbial balls I had been juggling in the way of hectic activity had dropped from my hands. The thing I didn’t realize was this – I wasn’t supposed to be juggling all those balls. They didn’t belong to me, and somewhere along the way, I had relieved someone else of a responsibility that was uniquely assigned to them, not me. I watched women I had known for so long graciously come in, pick up the dropped balls and walk away cradling them steadily in their hands.

At first, this process felt like they were stealing from me. Those were my obligations, not theirs. Was God stripping me of all I could DO for Him? Would He ever let me DO for Him again? Many questions cluttered my mind as I questioned my life’s importance. I truly loved God with all my heart, but couldn’t help but wonder if was doing something wrong? Had I fallen from His grace? How could I possibly please Him from my bed? All I could do was rest, and watch the joy of busy-ness release easily into other’s hands.

Here is an excerpt from my story to express my deepest frustrations:

The previous two years had been a time of waiting, searching, listening, and watching. Contentment had been hard to find, and I ran circles trying to find fulfillment. "Is this what you want me to do, God? Do you want me to give more time to the schools, to the church? I'll do it all. I'll do it all for You. Just tell me; I'll do it!"

That’s what I had been doing. Running circles, spinning wheels that didn’t belong to me, all for my OWN fulfillment. My thinking had been skewed into believing that the only way God would find me pleasing to Him was through my DO-ing.
Then came the point of surrender. I was undone and all my works had ceased. That’s when I finally reached out to God, not as a DO-er, but as His daughter. "Where do I begin again?"

Don’t you just love cliffhangers? I think I’ll stop there and pick up the rest of my story tomorrow. Stay tuned…

And that is my entry for today. Until tomorrow, and forever…

…under His Grace,
Sharen Watson

Monday, June 05, 2006


Sharen Watson - Guest Blogger This Week!

Day One of Seven - June 5, 2006
God Allows U-Turns

I suppose the first thing on my agenda is an introduction. I figure I owe you all as much since many of you have no clue as to who I am. Here’s a brief bio: My name is Sharen Watson. I’m married to my college sweetheart, Ray (25 years now), and we have three amazing children, Shawna (happily married to Hector), Stephen (college is halfway over) and Scot (what can you say about a 16-year-old?).

Let me take a look at my business card just to give you an indication of my “other” life. It reads like this: Sharen Watson, Author/Speaker/Editor; Founder, Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild; Director, Rocky Mountain Region, along with the following Scripture on which this ministry is based… “because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me…” www.wordsforthejourney.org. Please take a moment to visit and then pop in and say hi. I would love to hear from you.

Here is a little bit of background on Words For The Journey… After much prayer and fasting for direction, the Lord opened the doors for the first meeting in September 2003 at WoodsEdge Community Church located in The Woodlands, Texas. After two years of leading the wonderful members of WFTJ group #1, Linda Kozar (WFTJ Co-founder) graciously and energetically swooped in as Director of the group when my husband, Ray, accepted a new job position that moved us out of state. The Lord continues to grow the Texas group, and I’m amazed by the ministry He has accomplished (and is accomplishing) in the hearts of those who attend. He is SO good!

August 2005 - Onward and upward…NORTH – to Highlands Ranch, Colorado. We packed up our home, our sixteen-year-old son, a super-spoiled Lhasa Apso, and to top it all off, our equally spoiled, Calico cat. We were quite the carload, barking, meowing, singing, snoring and whining our way to The Rocky Mountain State.

Normally, I’m a pretty patient traveler, but even I was groaning, “Are we there yet?” Eighteen hours later, we tumbled out of our Explorer grateful to be anywhere we could stretch out on a bed (even though the movers had only set them up, minus the freshly washed sheets and fluffy pillows). But no matter, a mattress was a mattress and the pillow-top desirable, covered or not.

This was the beginning of a new life adventure. As soon as the boxes were unpacked, Ray and I started exploring our new home. Colorado is majestic! There is simply no other way for me to describe this place. The mountains called out to us, and we answered by following our compass west. In less than an hour, we were smack dab in the middle of evergreens, aspens and magnificent peaks. Absolutely captivating!

Well, that’s what I have for today. I’m looking forward to our daily visits throughout the week. I have a lot to share with you, including my own testimony of U-Turns. Oh, God is SO good!

Sharen Watson