Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Double Stuf

By Lori Boruff

Snack time. One glass of cold milk to share. Two Double Stuf Oreos. One for my grandson and one for me. At 20 months, he knew to eat the middle first! Did someone teach him that or is it just natural to go for the good stuff first?

My attempt to teach him how to eat an Oreo slowly didn't work. He wanted the good stuff now and wanted it all--like all over his face! With a chocolate disc in each hand, he strutted to the waste basket and threw the rest of the cookie away. All done.

I think that describes me. I go for the good Stuf in life first, want it all, want it now. And when I get it, do I even slow down to enjoy it? What about the other part, the not so appealing part? Do I waste it?

 What is the good, fluffy Stuf in life?

l        A beautiful summer day...that I'm too busy to enjoy.

l        A long hug from my husband... I cut short because clothes don't fold themselves.

l        A favor for a friend....that took more time than I selfishly wanted to give.

 Slow down. Enjoy the good moments! Make them last longer.

What about the rest...the hard part that just isn't as good without the cream.

l        More month than money.

l        Rebellious children.

l        Everything breaking once.

That's the hard Stuf. We wish we could throw it away but the truth's part of the whole package.

God uses the hard cookie part to make the double portion of good taste even better.

Next time I'm going to eat the outside first and really enjoy the Double Stuf. Would you like to join me?

Taste and see that the Lord is good....Psalm 34:8 NIV

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Pocketful of Change

Today's post is by our latest blog adventurer Rolie Grady.  Welcome!

“Just give me fifteen minutes each week,” implored Sally, the housecleaner.  “We can organize your drawers and closets in no time!”  She watched Jane, her elderly client, for a response.  Jane, physically fragile, was recovering from yet another accident.
My heart hurt as I listened to the story.  This was not a whimsical suggestion.  Sally knew Jane’s independence would disappear if she refused to simplify her lifestyle. 

Several years ago, the Holy Spirit tapped me on the shoulder.  “Get your house in order,” He said.  I knew what He meant.  My house was filled with unfinished projects relegated to a  rainy day status. 

“Yes, Lord,” I dutifully replied.  “Just as soon as I tackle this “To Do” list.”  That wasn’t good enough.  He kept insisting until I finally took that first step.  It began with a half hour in the basement.  My goal:  Clear one shelf.

“Aren’t you the ambitious one!” taunted the devil.  He had a point.  But I dug in…15 minutes here, a half hour there over the next two years.  Clearing a path one grocery sack at a time.

Eventually, I noticed a change.  Cleaning went much quicker, and my family could actually find what they needed.  I was able to fill my days with LIFE instead of guilt-driven “To Do” items.  Little did I know that God had a bigger plan for this lesson.

In 2006, Mike and I purchased our first house.  My hands shook as I signed the papers.  We walked in wonder through empty spaces that would soon be filled with our earthly possessions.

Then panic struck.  Would there be enough room for everything?  Suddenly my two years of training kicked into high gear.  A list of more items to throw or give away came to mind.  Yes, we could make this work!

Moving day came and went smoothly.  After that, adrenaline kept me going until the last box was unpacked.  It was time for a good cup of coffee as deep satisfaction settled over me.
 I felt another gentle tap on my shoulder. “See what obedience will do, “whispered the Spirit.  “There is a place for everything and everything is in it’s place.”
Yes, I sighed.  Who could imagine all this beauty?  God knew I couldn’t handle a complete overhaul in one sitting.  It was too much to think about.  But He converted those daily offerings into something magnificent….a pocketful of change at a time.

Narola (Rolie) Grady has been in the Quad Cities area since 1993.  She lives in Davenport with her husband, Mike, and their son, Sean.  Rolie has attended several of the QC Writing Conferences, and appreciates the hard work it takes to excel in this craft.  Aside from writing occasional articles, Rolie loves to worship by playing piano.  She has also been a speaker for various groups for the last 10 years.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

God Speaks in a Variety of Ways

As evangelical Christians, we have a firm commitment to the written Word of God. That is as it should be. However, we forget that the first revelation that God gave was through that which He created. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

I made my usual pilgrimage to the Black Hills of South Dakota this summer. The sacred beauty of that holy place never fails to strike me afresh each time I visit. The mountain grandeur: great hoary ponderosa pine, deep fresh water lakes teeming with life, cool moonlit nights filled by a galaxy of stars ebbing, twinkling and sparkling along the Milky Way. Here in the sacredness of God’s created order His voice wafts to me through the trees astride a gentle mountain breeze. God’s voice comes quietly, yet it is strikes me like thunder. My human spirit longs to be quelled by the Spirit of Creator God.

Perhaps you do not have the luxury of making a pilgrimage this summer to a favorite place filled with this kind of majestic certitude as I often do. Yet, you can afford to embrace the sacredness of God’s creation wherever you are. You can immerse yourself in its beauty and listen with the ear of your spirit to His still and thunderous voice. Perhaps connecting with the Holy through His created revelation will provide you with a fresh avenue of communion unlike any that you have experienced before.

Michael Elmore
Bettendorf, Iowa July 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Animate Your Story!

Today's blog features a recent animated promo I made for Cec and Me, an online talk show hosted by Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk.  It airs each Tuesday evening at 

In today's wild and wooly there is always going to be more than one way to tell your story.  I discovered a new site called GoAnimate through YouTube and made this little video in about an hour.  It's easy, fun and hopefully will get more attention than just another post on Facebook about Cec and Me.  The hardest part was that you MUST spell everything fun-et-ick-lee or the automated voice won't know how to say it.

I hope you enjoy the video.  At ten sentences, it's a little over our seven sentence challenge, but still far less than the average blog post. A Burger Date with Cec and Me by saintgail

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

So now you know what I'm doing with my summer.  What are you doing with yours?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quiet Pools

By Jeannette Doran
As spring comes, we begin to see the bare branches sprout and flower. We wait for the soft rains and watch the trees fill out with various shades of green. Rows of tiny green plants are seen amidst the fields of black soil. When the hot, humid days come, how refreshing the cooling rain becomes. Summertime and the action of creation display the splendor of pools, streams and rivers of living water. As in our prayer life, St. Teresa, who loved the gospel of the Samaritan woman, uses living water to teach us about the four stages of prayer. She begins with our struggle to pray and ends with the abundance of God’s grace drenching our very being.
Water is a powerful image. It is used in Scripture and in spiritual writings to illuminate mystery. Creation captures water's beauty; water weaves throughout our world. We delight in the rolling of the ocean waves as well as the rushing rivers. We experience serenity as we sit by the still lake. In desert land, there is a desire for water. During summer water quenches our thirst while we take pleasure in swimming away the heat of the day.
Spiritual waters permeate our souls as we take time to create quiet spaces. When we carve out a place of solitude and become a still pool, the Holy Spirit will fill our being with God’s living Presence. As still waters reflect the mountain peaks, the fragile blue cornflower and the various shades of green trees, so too, when one takes time for deep silence, God radiates within our souls, forming Christ’s image.
Scripture reminds us of how “the waters of Shiloh flow gently” (Is. 8: 6). In the eighth chapter of Isaiah, we learn the importance of remaining in tranquility. In Chapter 7 of St. John’s gospel, Jesus promises the believer that “rivers of living water shall flow” from within one’s heart. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman; “whoever drinks the water I give will never be thirsty; no, the water I give shall become a spring within (the heart of the believer), welling up to eternal life.” Water is often used throughout the psalms to denote longing for God. In Psalm 42, we pray: “As a deer longs for running streams, so longs my soul for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, the God of my life.” Water is a symbol of God’s grace used in our sacramental life. For example, we read “when the soldier pierced the heart of Jesus after his death immediately blood and water flowed out.” This blood and water could be a symbolic reference to the Eucharist and Baptism, as many believe.
Our loving God so longs to drench us with this living water. St. Augustine wrote that “we are the bread and Christ is the hunger”. May Christ’s hunger for our yearning for intimacy with God overflow into our hearts, and into all that we do. Eventually this becomes a gift to others. This is the ultimate goal of our lives.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Success The Old Fashioned Way

By Marvin Ferguson

The gentleman had only two years of formal learning.
 He was self-educated. He studied law in his spare time.
The world knows him as the 16th President of the United States.
With the right motivation and resources, like Abraham Lincoln, 
 Christ Followers can fulfill their passions and dreams.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Path to Writing Success

By Kathryn Lang

“If you are willing to help enough people get what they want in life then you will find that you get what you want in life.” This idea comes from a quote by Zig Ziglar and it ties in directly with the Golden Rule. Do unto others.

Most writers get caught up in the “I” of it all. I want to get a book deal. I want to get published in this magazine. I want to make enough money to become a full-time writer. I want to continue making enough money that I do NOT have to go back to a regular job.

Several weeks back I had the opportunity to reach out and help a friend. Our conversation opened up the realization that others were struggling with the same issues. I started spending some of my day doing things to help those that I could help and I soon discovered that I was closer to my own goals than I had even been.

The idea of giving up the “I” stuff for the “you” stuff can be uncomfortable in the best of situations and painful in the worst. But the investment ALWAYS pays off exceedingly, abundantly above all that I can think or imagine. It is not about what you have done for me lately – but about how I can do for you. It is not about the benefits I get from the actions – but about the blessings that will flow both ways.

This holiday is a great moment to step back and think about what I am willing to sacrifice to allow others to become more. The freedom to be all that you want to be comes when you are willing to be bold enough in your actions towards others to provide them with the ability to discover their own freedom.