Facebook is Not Enough

In our always-connected, always-online, media-rich 21st century world, sometimes it seems that we're all more isolated than ever. When we count up our hundreds of Facebook “friends” and thousands of Twitter “followers,”  we can forget that weeks, even months, go by without any meaningful connection with real, live people.

The thought that's been on my mind for the past week, the thought I want to share with you today, is this: Today (every day) you will cross paths with someone who is lonely. Watch for her.
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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

There Are No Words

I had a post topic in mind for today, but everything I have to say seems so trivial in light of the devastation and suffering dominating the news just now. The only words I have are these:

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1)


He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Ps 147:3)


Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Ps 23)


Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. (Ps 61:1-3)

My thoughts and prayers are with those in Oklahoma and west Texas who are suffering, grieving, and afraid.

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Power of I Can’t – & Spring Cleaning Giveaway

I'm pleased to be able to offer you a chance to participate in a big book giveaway by CrossReads. Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post to see how you can get a chance to win sixteen great novels. First, though, I hope you are inspired by Staci Stallings‘ thoughts on the power that comes when we acknowledge our own weakness.

“We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions–but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.” (TMB 1 Corinthians 8:2–3)

Our culture today worships the individual who succeeds. We hold up as role models those who are tough, who fight through adversity and come out on the other side, those who know the most and do the most.

We’ve been told almost from birth that any situation you face should be met with a “can do” spirit. “I Can” is practically stamped on our birth certificates before we exit the hospital.

In schools, administrators design programs that foster “self-reliance” and “self-respect.” They teach children to believe in themselves and work toward their goals.

I suppose from a worldly perspective that’s about all we could ever hope for. After all, without God, who else are you going to rely on? There is a song that talks about no one is going to have your back when you fall. That’s the juice we’re all steeped in. We hear it in commercials and on the radio. We even hear it from each other.

“It’s okay. You can do this. I know you can.”

But here’s the thing: None of this is Biblical. None of it is based on a relationship with God. It is all based in self, which ultimately is the very sin that got Adam and Eve thrown out of the garden.

So I invite you for a moment to take a good, hard look at these messages that sound so good and so right, and see them for what they are: lies of the Enemy.

That may sound harsh, but speaking as someone who practically gorged herself on this kind of thinking for 35 years, I can tell you that this way of thinking is not just sin–it is deadly. When you rely on yourself, what happens when you are weak? What happens when your doubt overtakes your faith? What happens when you’re walking on water with a friend who really needs you, and you suddenly sense that you can’t do this?

I’ve felt the panic that rises at this very thought. I have fought it. I have tried to shout it down with platitudes and positive thoughts, but the sad truth is, on my own I’m not capable of handling the depth of brokenness in this world. Sometimes I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what to do, I’m swimming and swimming, but I sense that at any moment I’m going under with no way to find up again.

That’s often what happens when God puts you out into deep water with the emotional issues of others–family, friends, those we work with, our children, and spouses. There is a depth to the need that none of us can quite meet. No matter how much we want to. No matter how much we try. We simply can’t because as humans we are limited. We have limited understanding, limited wisdom, limited patience, limited everything.

But here’s a secret Satan never wanted you to hear. When you think you can’t, you’re right. Now, that doesn’t give you license to give up. It is, instead, a call to stop trusting yourself and start trusting God.

Jesus is walking on that water with you, and He knows you can’t. He never meant for you to.

God knows you’re human. He knows you don’t have all of the answers. He doesn’t expect you to. What He wants is for every one of these occasions of “I can’t” panic to be cause for you to call out to Him, to ask Him into the situation, to reach for His help, His love, His strength, His wisdom, His peace. He wants nothing more than to come to your assistance, but you have to recognize your own need for Him and make the choice to ask.

There is power–God’s power–waiting in the words “I can’t” so long as they are followed by, “but He can.” Rest in that power. Reach for that power. For He is always right there, ready and willing to do what you can’t.

What about you? Did Staci's thoughts bring you a new perspective on that pressure to be self-reliant?

Be sure to click on the link below to get your chance to win 16 great books, including one by Staci!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

 Love Christian books?

Would you like to expand your library?

Enter the CrossReads Spring Cleaning
Book Giveaway

to WIN 16 Christian Paperbacks!

including Eternity from Staci Stallings, the author of this article!

Spring Cleaning

Enter the CrossReads Spring Cleaning Giveaway!

Staci new haedshot(1)  If you love great Christian fiction, meet Best Selling Christian Romance author, Staci Stallings. Staci’s titles range from YA to adult, inspirational to full-on Christian.  Each title is a new adventure!  That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.

Visit Staci today at:


And have an inspired day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m Running Away From Home (and We Have a Winner!)

As this post goes live, I’m packed and ready to run away from home. This weekend I’ll be holed up at a Dallas hotel with a writer friend of mine. She and I were talking a few weeks ago, both of us lamenting how close we are to finishing our respective manuscripts, but our daily lives and writerly insecurities keep getting in the way of typing “The End.”

In The War of Art (a book I recommend highly for people who pursue creative endeavors of any kind), author Stephen Pressfield writes about “resistance” as a force everybody has to overcome when attempting to do anything that matters. He says that resistance increases as you near the end, and boy, has that been true for me!

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

So my friend and I decided to run away from home (together) and spend the weekend in a marathon writing/editing session. I don't like being away from home for the weekend, but I’m hoping this focused time will help me get over the hump so I can finish this project in time to meet my goal of sending it off by the end of the month to the agent who asked for it 8 months ago! If you think of it from time to time, I’d appreciate your prayers for a productive time of writing.

Before I disappear for the weekend, though, I wanted to fill you in on a few random things:

  1. The winner of Sharon Srock’s new release (see the post about it by clicking here) is … Zoe McCarthy! Sharon will be in touch with you to work out the arrangements for getting your copy to you.
  2. If you didn’t win this time, take heart. Come back on Tuesday, May 14, to read an inspiring guest post and sign up for a chance to win 16 great novels in CrossReads’s “Spring Cleaning Print Book Giveaway.” Don’t miss it!
  3. As a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, I'm honored to have the opportunity to guest post on the ACFW blog on Wednesday, May 15. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the question of being “called” to write, and I’d love to have your feedback. Please stop by and check it out, then let me know what you think.
  4. I was surprised and honored to learn last week that Do No Harm was selected as the winner in the women’s fiction category of The Write Stuff, a fiction contest sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of Romance Writers of America.This contest was particularly worthwhile because the judges gave really helpful, detailed feedback on my 30-page submission.
    Write Stuff list 2013-05-09

One last request: If you’re a pray-er, I’d appreciate prayers for my sons:

  • Benjamin (the newlywed) started Army bootcamp this week, so we'd welcome prayers for both him and his new bride back in San Diego.
  • Sam just finished his freshman year in college and is home for the summer, contemplating big changes for next year.
  • Matthew will be moving his wife and sons from Hawaii to Connecticut this fall as he starts his next post in the US Navy. His new assignment is a big opportunity and an exciting challenge for him, but the move means a huge change for his wife and boys.

So what about you? Are you battling resistance with respect to something you’re trying to accomplish? What do you do to overcome it?

See you next week!

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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

Six Steps for Overcoming Discouragement

Everybody feels down sometimes. Life doesn't go the way we'd hoped, our goals seem unreachable, and discouragement sets in. Life seems barren and hopeless.


But one of the great things about becoming . . . (ahem) “a woman of a certain age” is the ability to remember that even the worst situations don't last forever, and that how I feel right now isn't necessarily my permanent truth. Feelings change. Even more important, we can change our feelings.

Here (in no particular order) are some steps I try to take when I'm feeling down and discouraged.

  1. Acknowledge the feelings. It's not about pretending you don't feel what you feel. It's not even about telling yourself to “knock it off” or “get over it.” Feelings are what they are, and mental health experts generally agree that it's pretty unhealthy to try to ignore or hide your feelings. So go ahead and feel them. But you don't necessarily want to dump them on the people in your life. One really helpful exercise is to journal about them. Get a pretty notebook (that nobody else will ever see!) or open up a Word file and write for ten or thirty or sixty minutes, dumping your thoughts and feelings onto the page. Be blunt and honest. Nobody ever has to see it, but sometimes just putting your feelings into words helps you get a handle on them. My favorite place to express my feelings privately is a free journaling website called Penzu. It's private and secure (they use military-grade encryption to protect your online journal) and it has free apps for your mobile devices, too, so you can journal anywhere using your iPhone or iPad or other mobile device.
  2. Get some sleep. Maybe it's just me, but discouragement often gets the better of me when I'm tired. It's amazing what a good night's sleep–or a nap–can do for your perspective. IMG_0521
  3. Get outside and go for a walk. Research has shown that exercise can lift your mood. When I'm feeling discouraged, my inclination is to sit like a lump and feel sorry for myself, but if I can get my shoes on and get outside in the fresh air–especially if there are trees and sunshine and birds singing–well, that can change everything.
  4. Talk to a friend. Sometimes all we need is a sympathetic friend who'll hear our pain and then encourage us.
  5. Find someone you can help. Maybe it seems simplistic, but for me, the quickest way to drag myself out of the dumps is to get my focus off myself and turn my attention to someone else's needs. It's pretty likely that someone else around you is discouraged too. Offer her a word of support and encouragement. Hearing yourself say those encouraging words will lift your own spirit.
  6. Give thanks. This is the big challenge I've set for myself this year: look for something to be thankful for in every situation, no matter how crummy. For me, this probably is the single most important key to my mood, and the one I have the most control over. We can't always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we look at them. So in every situation, ask yourself this important question: What can I be thankful about in this? Go back to that journal and make a list of everything you can think of to be thankful for. If you're a person of faith, pray–out loud so your ears can hear what your mouth is saying–and verbalize your gratitude, even if it's just for the fact that you don't have to go through this lousy thing alone.

Are these steps cure-alls? Will they change your circumstances? Nope. But they can change the way you see your circumstances. And honestly, that change in perception can change everything.

What about you? Do any of these things help you when you're discouraged? Do you have other suggestions for improving your outlook? Please share them in the comments.
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Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . . 
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me