Hi, Sweet Friends, I have been somewhat absent from this blog and may be somewhat inconsistent again in the weeks ahead. I have never accepted so much ministry commitments at once, but the Lord seems to be opening doors that He wants us to walk through. I want to finish Joy, my thirteen year old, well. So I have to be vigilant to see that she gets the time, attention, discipleship, and education that all of the other kids received. But, Joy was born with that personality that is driven and so she is not hard to direct. I have to keep her from being committed to too many activities as she is an extrovert and likes to be on the go and is doing and working all the time.
I did want to let many of you know about our conferences this year. Our Mom's conferences seem to be such a wonderful place where God meets with us in our ideals, vision and need. It has been such a blessing to be a part of what the Lord does through these conferences over the last 11 years! I hope that the economic issues in our culture will not keep too many moms from coming as I think the Lord works in such an amazing way to bring life and inspiration to many that feeds their souls for many months. So if you are going to be in an area where we will host these conferences, be sure to save your money now and to bring a friend as it is such a great time of fellowship and encouragement! I am also excited about this year, because we will try to have a pre-conference training for those moms interested in leading Mom Heart Groups. I have two new guest speakers joining me, as well as Sarah and me speaking and of course we will have music, chocolate, a great luncheon, a sweet favor and lots of great fellowship. We will be developing online brochures to send out to our email list this year and would so appreciate it if any of you bloggers could let people in your area know about the conferences. We started these mom conference in 1998 because we wanted to spiritually and emotionally fortify moms in their great calling to build a godly legacy in their own home. We try to make it as spiritually refreshing and encouraging and helpful as we can.
The following is the conference schedule: December 29-January 3 Orlando, Fl. AMTC January 23-24 Charlotte, NC--a Wholehearted Mom's conference in a church there February 6-7 Costa Mesa, Ca--Whole Hearted Mom's conference in a hotel February 20-21 Dallas/Ft. Worth Whole Hearted Mom's conference Marriot Hotel February 27-28--Apologia Women's conference Baltimore area March 3-4 Mom's weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina March 10-11 Heart's at Home conference in Illinois
Then, God willing, we will be doing a strategic mission trip in Asia for three weeks in multiple cities and to a variety of groups. Hopefully we will have the informational brochures out by mid or late October. Please be sure to put the dates on your calendars!
Though this will be more travel than our family has ever attempted at once, the girls and I will be a team together and we have become quite a support to each other in the midst of the past few years of ministering together. Joy is developing a real ministry heart in the midst of all of this and Sarah has been my right hand for many years. I hope that we will be able to see many of you, and we do covet your prayers for good health and safe travel.
There are times I am tempted to take a sabbatical for a year or two, but then I will meet a young man or woman who has emotional scars or terrible moral or spiritual baggage from their upbringing or lack there-of and then I will feel compelled to share what I do know with sweet moms who need help--to write what I hope will encourage. I was praying about this yesterday morning, and the picture of Jesus holding the children in his arms came to mind and I felt that He said to me, "I love my children. I want you to keep training and encouraging moms so they will know how to love and care for these precious, vulnerable children. The consequences of their lives are important to me! You must keep working for the children's sakes!" So, I do feel that my life is not my own, but that I have been so blessed to have experienced His love in my family and I have seen His redemption, so I have a stewardship to share.
This is also the basis of our desire to train moms to start Mom Heart groups--moms reaching out to moms--for emotional encouragement, spiritual training and input and for help. So many of you, I know, are already a blessing to so many by leading groups yourselves. We are working hard to get Bible study guides to go with all of our books and to write training materials for moms who need a little bit of help starting groups. In time, we are planning a national leadership conference as well as putting lectures to all of our books and to produce more discipleship materials that you can use with your children. Clay is busy with the writing and publishing arm while I work with other women on the detailed part of Mom Heart.
I am also writing a new book which is due December 15. Please pray with me that in the midst of it all, that I will hear from the Lord every day and be able to speak His voice into this book. There are also a couple of other book contracts that are in the process, so my plate is quite full!
People have asked me how I do all of this and still keep my priorities. I could never have done so much when my children were younger as I would have compromised my time with them. But we grew our commitments gradually. I also have had to be very committed and focused and have to say no to many activities that would be fun but would compete with my family time. I have had to write books early in the morning and often my deadlines get pushed back, but somehow we muddle along together as a family in this together. It helped that Clay and I have been partners in this forever.
Now the next thing I feel guilty telling you about. Clay has been so wonderful to me for the past few years in seeing me become depleted and he is always so generous to see that I get a few days here and there to refresh.Since we have traveled so much for ministry, Clay is inclined to stay home--but he knows that I love to get away with the kids because then I don't have to cook, or email or talk on the phone and as the kids became older, I so enjoyed getting away with them. It has been quite a while since I have traveled somewhere just to travel--without speaking or writing or something.
Well, such a trip is coming up and I can't wait. A friend asked Sarah to teach her children about the great English authors this summer. In return, she said she would pay for Sarah to travel to England to give her and her grandchildren a tour of the great English authors' homes. They decided to have a practice run this fall. I asked if I could go with them and bring Joy on the practice run! So, next week, I will go to a family wedding in Texas. Then, we will drive on to Nashville to see a sweet friend and celebrate her mom's 93rd birthday and then off to England for an 8 day trek! I feel so excited--just a fun girl's trip--no work allowed! Just thinking of all that tea and trains and country side rambles makes me giddy!
We will see homes of Dickens, Shakespeare, Potter, Harriot, and Wordsworth and possibly a couple of more. We will also hopefully go to the premier pre-Raphealite museum and have a great tea in a palace with one of Sarah's friends who is studying and working there. So, I will be off of my blog for at least 8 days while I travel. Joy and I are shopping for warm coats and good walking shoes as we are going to be making quite a few treks--even hope to see the place that the banner of my blog represents! Sarah has arranged it all as she is the only one who has been to these places. I added up all of my points and got two free airline tickets which I consider a grace gift from the Lord, or we wouldn't have been able to go!
So, I wish you all well and covet your prayers and I promise I will take pictures along the way and fill you in on little details when I get back home. I might be writing a blog between now and the time I leave, but thought just in case that I would get this letter written!
God's grace to you all.