Come to the Maranatha Writers Conference

Ya’ll come!


Maranatha Writers Conference takes place in Michigan, September 15-18. I will present workshops and would love to have you join us. Meet with successful authors, agents, and speakers. The conference is packed with workshops, keynote speakers, and opportunities designed to help you improve your craft and achieve your dream of writing well, and being published.

Sign up in August for a discount. Maranatha is reasonably priced, on the water, there is a discount to sign up in August, and our dear Cec Murphey has provided scholarships. For information:


Link to the Ten Best Decisions for Single Parents

What are the ten best decisions a single parent can make?

Go to this link and hear author and speaker Pam Farrel, WBCL Midmorning host Lynne Ford, and me talk about important decisions and shifts that make all the difference in the world for single parents.



Ten Best Decisions A Single Parent Makes

The Ten Best Decisions A Single Parent Can Make is our topic tomorrow when award-winning author Pam Farrell joins award-winning me and host Lynne Ford on award-winning radio WBCL’s Midmorning Program.


How do you make excellent decisions? Do our decisions impact our children? What good decision can you make today that will impact your family in a positive way by noon?

Listen at


Got questions of your own? Ask our experts at 260-745-9090.
Or email your questions to:

Visit Pam Farrell’s website at

Ahoy! Writers’ Conference Ahead

Maranatha Writers Conference happens next month, September 15-18, at the beautiful Maranatha Center on the lake!

For writers and those thinking about writing, this event is your resource for inspiration, instruction, and networking. Even more, I get to be faculty, and when you register this month, you can take advantage of the special August discount.

Author, editor, business owner, and today’s guest blogger, Cindy Lambert is part of the team producing the upcoming Maranatha Writers Conference. Here is her experience.

By Cindy Lambert
I wonder sometimes when I’ll stop being surprised at how God shows up at writers’ conferences.

I’ve taught at quite a few over the years, and each time, I’ve had that “goose bump” feeling more than once when I’ve witnessed God at work among his people. Serving on faculty at a writers’ conference means being given front-row seats to God’s story at work in the lives of writers and aspiring writers. I meet people who’ve encountered devastating loss and yet are willing to put their pain to God’s use in reaching out to others through their writing. I’ve seen new relationships formed when writers find kindred spirits from miles away and forge a bond of encouragement. I’ve seen people with great ideas meet people with the skills to capture their message effectively in writing. I’ve seen discouraged conferees come to grips with the reality that they have much to learn and are far from publishable—yet they seek God’s wisdom and discover that their writing is never wasted, never, because in the very act of writing they’ve grown to know God better and love him more. I’ve seen faces from years before and remembered when that person was an overwhelmed novice, so awkward on the page, so clueless about the process of publishing, and now they are successfully publishing and coaching others.

At the last conference where I served (Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference), I met a woman with a story that touched me so deeply that she and I have already forged a bond and are now working together. I was handed a copy of a published book that had been only a dream a few years before – and read in the acknowledgments that I’d helped shape that book! Who knew? I spoke to a dear elderly woman who had been a displaced, victimized orphan in Europe during WWII, and now all these decades later she is ready to write the account of God’s provision for her as her legacy to her family. She sought me out with a burning question: How do I write the truth of what was done to me without bringing pain or shame to the grandchildren of my abuser? My throat tightened with emotion as I looked into the gentle wise eyes peeking out of deep wrinkles. Her story could have produced an embittered hater, yet before me stood the evidence of a God of grace who’d worked his love into this woman’s heart. Now his work will spill out onto her pages and into the lives of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I confess: I wanted to write her story myself, just so I could experience more of God’s grace personally!

God has whispered to me, shouted at me, nudged, guided, humbled, amazed and refreshed me at writers’ conferences. Why? Because his people have gathered together to seek him out, to follow his leading, to learn and stretch and grow and dream. God calls them there and meets them there. He is at work in his body! Is there a more beautiful sight?

That is why we’ve chosen this year’s theme verse at Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference:  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
 Ephesians 4:16 (NIV)

That is why our 2014 theme is Every Writer Needs a Team. It’s true! None of us can go it alone. God has given us his body, filled with experience and skill and insight, and he’s fashioned us to work together to grow into all he calls us to be.

Today I was praying over the list of faculty and registrants (and yes, there is still time to register) and I was overcome, thinking of all the lives that will be intersecting September 15-18 along the lovely shoreline of Lake Michigan. God has already written the story of what will unfold there–lives to be touched, skills to be honed, discoveries to be made, relationships to be forged. I can’t wait to capture a glimpse of what he will be accomplishing.

I hope to meet some of you there and discover more of God’s story through you.

Cindy Lambert
Program Director, Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference
Publishing Strategist, Somersault
Collaborate Author, Freelance Editor

To learn more about Maranatha Christian Writers Conference, visit

SPECIAL OFFER: $25 off all full event registrations. This discount is good through August 31. Enter promotional code buildmyteam2014 when registering.

Cindy Lambert, publishing strategist for Somersault and collaborative writer, is a veteran of the publishing industry devoted to excellence in furthering the impact of Christian publishing on our global culture. Cindy began her career as owner of an award-winning independent Christian bookstore in Maryland, then expanded into leadership roles in distribution, editorial, consumer research, and publishing at Ingram, Simon & Schuster, and Zondervan, where she most recently served as vice president and associate publisher of trade books. Lambert, editor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Mistaken Identity (Howard Books, 2009, Van Ryn, Cerak, Tabb), has worked alongside such bestselling authors as Mark Batterson, Kyle Idleman, Kay Warren, Ruth Graham, Debbie Macomber, and Christine Caine. As a collaborative writer, Cindy co-authored the bestselling book UnPlanned (Abby Johnson, Tyndale and Focus on the Family, 2010), 40 Days for Life (Bereit and Carney, Cappella Books, 2013) , One Light Still Shines (Marie

When A Cowgirl Goes To College

When a cowgirl goes to college, it is packing for two; the cowgirl and her trusty steed.

The night before departure: be 75 percent packed. After running around all day doing errands and making a special trip to see the nephew, bonfire with brownies and roasted sweet corn from the neighboring farm. Hug family friends including one that is not typically a hugger. A couple strong guys help load hay and boxes of daughter’s stuff into horse trailer. One leaves flowers. Play cards until midnight. Stay up three more hours going through drawers and packing other things she wants or may need.

Day of: Up early, load the rest of the stuff. Hug the Golden Retriever ranch dog (Whiskey) and cry good-byes. Wrap horse’s legs for travel and load horse, hay, tack, wormer, and countless other horsie stuff into trailer. Remember that we forgot to get horse’s manicure and will have to schedule that in the new location. Hug barn owner. Fuel truck, buy shavings for the trailer floor under horse, and Starbucks. 90 minutes later than the target time to set out, we leave town to begin what the GPS calculated as a 16-hour drive across the nation.


Play copious amounts of country music. Loud. Sing. Rotate drivers to accommodate naps. Listen to a recorded Clive Cussler story rented from Cracker Barrel.

Stop every two hours for gas. Give horse water that she mostly ignores, hay, and a cherry or apple flavored sucker (de-sticked) collected from visits to the bank. Smile and nod while an older lady comes by the trailer and says she knows all about horses because she knows someone who has one. Let small child pat horse. Allow a mom to take a photo of her child with the horse.

In Kentucky we are south enough to order sweet tea. “Do you want sweet tea or un-sweet tea?” Travel the hills of Tennessee without putting on the ‘pull and haul’ mechanism of the truck. No, that was not on purpose.

By evening we are south enough to get dinner at a Zaxby’s including Zaxby’s sauce. If you are from the North, this may be a foreign name to you. Those in the South are nodding and smiling.

Along the way, mom thinks of several – okay, many – important things to say. Talk to God everyday, read your Bible, floss your teeth, change your oil, eat fruits and veggies, don’t kiss boys just because they want to, tithe ten percent of your income, save ten percent of your income, and remember that no matter what I always love you and you belong and eternally have a home to come to.

Arrive at the barn at midnight and settle the horse in her stall. Brush teeth and go to bed at dear friends’ house until tomorrow morning when we will unload my daughter’s stuff at her dorm. Travel tally: lots for gas; reasonable total in meals; good amount in snacks; laugh until tears blur the driver’s vision – priceless!

It is early morning when we go to sleep. And I wonder if I told her enough that I am proud of her, believe in her, and love her so abundantly that there are not words or the ability to measure the quality or quantity. “My darling, your future and possibilities are as unlimited as the Son.”

What Do You Take to College?

As I help my daughter populate her college apartment/dorm, I am noticing the essentials and usefuls of our daily life. Here are this week’s. I’d like to hear yours.


1) Bag balm. Keeps lips moist. A light coat under socks at night keeps feet soft.

2) Vinegar. White vinegar applied to garments before putting them in the wash removes yellow perspiration marks – for other people, of course. You and I don’t sweat.

3) Peroxide. Put on any boo-boos. Swish a capful for white teeth.

4) Excedrin and ibuprophen. Sudafed. For those of us who get headaches.

5) Dark chocolate. Makes everything better. Especially homework.

6) Tea. Black currant, Earl Grey, and Savannah Grey which is the Earl with lavender. Include a fun mug to drink your tea from.

7) A computer that is cleaned and tuned.

8) Dependable vehicle with good brakes and tires.

9) Cell phone with GPS. (Remember to call your mom now and then. Of course the college student is fine. Mom just needs to hear your voice for her soul’s well-being.)

10) Canned refried beans to quickly put together burritos, or chips and bean dip. Healthy protein for you and friends that pop in to study.




The Humane Art of Appreciation

Author Michelle Howe joins Lynne Ford and me in November on WBCL’s Midmorning program to talk about the joys in being a parent. Here is her guest blog so you get to know her. Her new book is Faith, Friends, and other Flotation Devices.


“The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out.”

Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends & Influence People

There is something wonderfully enigmatic about sensing that another person notices your efforts, weak attempts though they may be, and kindly expresses such recognition with even a single word of thankfulness. One paltry word, even? Yes. A mere word can make or break a person’s spirit, depend upon it. On any given day, individuals, young and old, from every life background have an inner (frequently unidentified) longing for a bit of expressed goodwill. All people have this need to realize a sense of validation for their accomplishments, their purpose, and their very person.

Cynics grouse that there’s a fine line between appreciation and flattery. Well, it isn’t so. Flattery is simply verbal manipulation that benefits the speaker alone. Appreciation runs deeper. It marks another’s actions or attitudes and sees the benefit in the attempts … no matter how insignificant. Real appreciation alters both the speaker and the recipient, for the good. It spawns renewed vision, encourages continued efforts, and lights a fire for ongoing perseverance toward excellence.

Perhaps the most significant difference between flattery and appreciation is that one offers life (in abundance) while the other signals an inner death knell to the listener.

People instinctively know if they’re being schmoozed and it’s always unattractive. The question then is how to offer praise genuinely when someone is glaringly lacking from every visible vantage point. Drawing from Emerson, Carnegie reports, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”

As we practice the art of identifying people’s strengths and offer words of consistent appreciation, we take part in their success, which will naturally spill over positively affecting countless others. Today, focus on the strong points of people and then commit to communicating daily sincere appreciation to all. These few powerful words, which cost us so little, will be treasured by the recipient long after we’ve forgotten them, and there’s nothing insincere about it.

Build appreciation into every personal encounter.

  • Adopt a learner’s mentality. With friends and strangers alike, view every person you interact with as someone you can learn something from…and then do it.
  • Focus on meeting the needs of others by learning what is important to them. Ask intelligent questions, listen carefully to their responses. Spend more time discussing your friend’s interests than your own.
  • See people with fresh eyes. Familiarity can bring with it a lack of gratefulness. Look closely at others’ gifts, talents, and abilities … and thank them for the difference they are making in your life and in others.
  • Be open hearted by sharing friendships. Welcome newcomers into your circle of friends and acquaintances with warmth. Genuine hospitality begins in each individual heart and works its way outward in ever-widening circles.
      Michele Howe, Author

How Do You See A Woman?

In case you’ve not seen it, I am sharing a superb piece by fellow author and Hoosier, Nate Pyle. When it comes to men and women, this is beautifully said, Nate.

The man who sees and knows a woman as a fellow human being, and treats her with respect receives the richest gift in the world – a woman’s heart. She will partner to build great families, successful businesses, nurturing communities, and bright futures.

Seeing a Woman: A conversation between a father and son

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Someday I am going to have to have the conversation with my son. No, not the conversation all parents dread giving and all kids are mortified having. I enjoy making people uncomfortable so that conversation should be fun.

No, I’m talking about another conversation. The one that happens after I catch his eye doing what male eyes do well – following an object of lust. We will probably be out at the mall, because that’s what dads do with their sons, and I’ll catch the look. Maybe we’ll go to the beach and see it. Doesn’t matter where it is, there will come a time when I will see it. And then it will be time for this conversation.


Hey, come here. Let me talk to you. I saw you look at her. I’m not judging you or shaming you. I know why you did. I get it. But we have to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.


A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly. Here is what I will tell you. It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing. You will feel the temptation to blame her for your wandering eyes because of what she is wearing – or not wearing. But don’t. Don’t play the victim. You are not a helpless victim when it comes to your eyes. You have full control over them. Exercise that control. Train them to look her in the eyes. Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her body. The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are simply embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from wrong, human from flesh.

Look right at me. That is a ridiculous lie.

You are more than that. And the woman you are looking at is more than her clothes. She is more than her body. There is a lot of talk about how men objectify women, and largely, it is true. Humans objectify the things they love in effort to control them. If you truly love a person, do not reduce them to an object. The moment you objectify another human – woman or man, you give up your humanity.

There are two views regarding a woman’s dress code that you will be pressured to buy into. One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men. The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from themselves. Son, you are better than both of these. A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention. You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being. On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you. You need to be in control of you.

Unfortunately, much of how the sexes interact with each is rooted in fear. Fear of rejection, fear of abuse, fear of being out of control. In some ways, the church has added to this. We fear each other because we have been taught the other is dangerous. We’ve been taught a woman’s body will cause men to sin. We’re told that if a woman shows too much of her body men will do stupid things. Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you. Her body will not cause you harm. It will not make you do stupid things. If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things. So don’t contribute to the fear that exists between men and women.

A woman’s body is beautiful and wonderful and mysterious. Respect it by respecting her as an individual with hopes and dreams and experiences and emotions and longings. Let her be confident. Encourage her confidence. But don’t do all this because she is weaker. That’s the biggest bunch of crap out there. Women are not weaker than men. They are not the weaker sex. They are the other sex.

I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.

My hope is that changing how you see women will change how you are around them. Don’t just be around women. Be with women.

Because in the end, they want to be with you. Without fear of being judged, or shamed, or condemned, or objectified, or being treated as other. And that’s not just what women want. That’s what people want.

Ultimately, it’s what you want.

- See more at:



Good Student But Talks Too Much

Good student but talks too much is how Katie’s teachers described her. Today she gets paid to talk.
Katie Leigh is the voice of your childhood.
The voice actress voices Muppet Baby Rowlf – the younger version of Jim Hensen – Disney Channel’s Dumbo, Darkwing Duck, Richie Rich, young Han Solo, and the annoying tourist kid in the beginning of Despicable Me to name a few. In my family she is best known as Adventures in Odyssey’s Connie Kendall. AIO is the longest running radio drama in history and Katie is the longest running actor, having started with the show 26 years ago. Today, Adventures in Odyssey is heard by 1.2 million people every week in 62 nations.

When Katie was at MasterWorks Festival to coach young actors, the newspaper interviewed the voice actress.


Will You Pray?

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, says it is time to pray. And pray hard.

Blow the trumpet…sound the alarm…for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand– Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God…
~Joel 2:1, 13

Beginning today, July 1 through July 7, I am participating in this Urgent Call To Prayer. How about you? Will you join with Anne and others to pray for our families and our nation? Go to the website below where you can sign up for daily prayer emails.

Pray! in the 7th month, July
Pray! on each of the first 7 days of July
Pray! and fast on July 7th for 7 hours (of your choosing)

Today’s prayer:

* For God the Father to restrain, protect, and deliver His people
from the evil that has come into our world.
* For God the Son to be exalted, magnified, and glorified in His
church, in our nation, and in our lives.
* For God the Holy Spirit to fall on us in a fresh way, compelling
the church to repent of sin and our nation to return to faith in the living
God, resulting in a great national spiritual awakening.