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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Learning How to Do It All

By Kathryn C. Lang

I can do it all . . . I just have to figure out how to do it all at the same time. I manage a little here. I find a way to do a little there. Sooner or later, something slips through the cracks and I am left wondering what on earth I was doing in the first place.

Top Tips for Doing it All

Know what you really want to do. Having a plan for life (much like you would create for a business) will help to direct the choices. I need to know what I want to accomplish. I need to know why I want to accomplish it. I need to have steps to get me across the finish line. The right plan will help me understand what I really want to do.

Set a goal (or two). Long term goals – where you want to be in five years and ten years – can be the motivation for reaching the next level. Dream big, but dream honestly. I have to be willing to stretch myself if I am ever going to be more than I am right now.

Keep moving. Nothing gets done if I am not doing anything. Sitting around wishing and hoping will leave me starry eyed, but not much more. Action is the difference between a dream and a win.

Get some support. Accountability pushes me when my own motivation has dwindled. It helps to have others that will encourage me in my journey to success – and that will hold my feet to the fire when I am struggling to get moving again.

Cut back. Getting it all done does not mean everything under the sun. Some things will have to be cut. Review the activities that take up the day and find the ones that work best. I need to do what I need to do and sometimes that means not doing what I do not need to do.

I have to know what I want if I am going to get to where I want to be. Investing the time and effort into my what, how and when can be the key to finding my way to do it all.

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Kathryn C. Lang shares words of inspiration through her talks and articles. Learn more about Kathryn at her website You can also purchase her books through her website or most online retailers.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Looking for Christ in Christmas

By Sharon Wilhite

The loud speakers blare from store to store
Until I can hardly stand anymore.
From October through December 25th,
Rudolph, Happy Holidays and the Santa myth..

Frosty and Alvin and Winter Wonderlands,
Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and well-known bands.
After Christmas when this music's all gone,
Was there more to the season than sung in these songs?

Was it jolly Old Saint Nick who appeared to Mary on her Rooftop
and told her of a Savior to be born?

Was it Rudolph with his nose so bright who guided Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem?

Was it the magic in Frosty's hat that brought forth the King of Kings from a virgin?

Were there Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire in the Bethlehem stable?
Was there a Partridge in a Pear Tree outside the door?

Was it Donder, Dasher, and Blitzen grazing on a hillside tended by Santa's elves
who were walking around in a Winter Wonderland?

Was it a Marshmallow World with contented Jews dreaming of a White Christmas and
children dreaming of getting their Two Front Teeth?

Was it Simon, Alvin, and Theodore who took a Sleigh Ride to give gifts to the Christ child?

As followers of Christ, are we supposed to be celebrating a Holly Jolly Christmas or a Holy Christmas?
Will it be a Blue Christmas without the True Focus on Christ?
Are we looking for Santa Claus Coming to Town or remembering Jesus Christ who came down to earth to save us from our sins?

It Is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year but only because "for unto us was born a Savior."
Oh Come Let Us Adore Him, Christ the LORD!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


By Rolie Grady

Do you ever wish you could leave the pain of this world and live somewhere else? You’re not alone. Every person carries that dream in his heart. Deep within us lies a true picture of what life was meant to be. It’s a place where everything comes together perfectly….so unlike what happened this last week.

Much has already been said about good versus evil. Why does it take a huge tragedy for us to see the essence of evil? I don’t know. As layers of denial and deception implode, we either sink in the ashes or cry out for truth. At that moment , we are closer to permanent change than ever before.

When my son, Kyle, died in 1990, I already knew Jesus as Savior. His strong grip got my husband and me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Years went by as we struggled through the deepest pain of our lives. His presence became the turning point. We read the Bible with new urgency, knowing His voice was the only lifeline we had. Our eyes were opened to a different reality, and our ears attuned to the frequency of heaven.

Like our tragedy, this one sought to obliterate all traces of life. The media hypnotically focused attention on a downward spiral of death. Despair sucked the life out of families everywhere, leaving fear in it’s place.

Did God take a vacation on December 14, 2012? No. Like you, I grieve with bereaved parents in Newtown, Connecticut. But I also want to pass on a message I received the next day from Gary Fick, a professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He writes:

“…this morning at the midyear recognition for our current graduates, ‘by chance’ I happened to meet a family whose church is in Newtown, CT. The mom was the Vacation Bible School teacher for some of those killed. She shared that in the morning before the murders happened, she had had a vision of those children climbing all over Jesus on His throne and kissing Him. They were so happy.

At the time, she said she did not know what it meant, but we know now. Right now I cannot understand and I do not really know what to do. But I am comforted by the knowledge that Jesus is with those who have died so wantonly. And I pray again that His comfort and direction will come to us who continue to live in this dark and troubled world…”

When darkness threatens to swallow hope this Christmas, follow me to Psalm 91 and find a well lit refuge. Remember that we can always go vertical, letting the true light of Heaven reveal everlasting life.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas X 7

By various authors and you, too, hopefully.

I challenged our TGBA authors to write a seven word sentence about Christmas. Today's post is the result of that challenge. I hope you enjoy it and will add your own seven word description of whatever comes into your mind/heart when you hear the word "Christmas."

Childhood memories from Christmases long, long ago.  
Michael Elmore

Intentionally reflecting daily on Christ's miraculous birth!
Sharon Wilhite

Love wrapped in cloths--given for us.
Marie Tschopp

Celebrating Emmanuel, God’s love with us, forevermore.
Gail Smith

And from Robin, a seven word series:

Christmas Season in Seven Seven-Word Sentences

By Robin Steinweg

*Christmas lights brighten the ever lengthening days.

*Christmas recital: performed by diligently practicing students.

*Christmas shopping: delayed because of practicing students.

*Christmas music seems slaughtered by muzak loops.

*Yuletide carols being sung by a choir.

*Will the cantata be ready in time??? 

*All preparation is for One alone: Jesus!

Photo courtesy of
Don't forget to add to our seven words of Christmas post.  Merry Christmas, friends!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Hope Christmas Joy

By Jeannette Doran

Advent calls for great stillness in preparation for the coming of Jesus. It is a time of longing and expectancy as we await the coming of Jesus on Christmas. We prepare for the birth of Jesus in our hearts and our world as we pray the scripture, nourishing our souls in praying with the prophets of long ago. Isaiah will fill our hearts with hope and joyous expectation when we read of a time of peace when the lion will lie down with the lamb and the lovely verse that speaks of how someday we will live where “none will harm or destroy another on My entire holy mountain, for the land will be as full of the knowledge of the LORD as the sea is filled with water.” Isaiah 11 v.9

As we reflect on the infant Jesus, God’s love is made visible we are filled with joy. In the turmoil of our world today when we learn to live in God’s presence our journey becomes softer. As we carry the presence of God in Jesus into the coming year the joy of Bethlehem and Christmas will warm our hearts over the winter. May the joy of this holy times fill our hearts this Christmas and always.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Christmas Mantra

By Kristi Paxton

The best things in life are __________. (Fill in the blank.)

The word that most often comes to mind is “free.” The best things in life are free. OK. I get it.

I’ve been thinking of a new one:

The best things in life are not __________. (Fill in the blank.)

Here is my top ten list in reverse order, a la David Letterman:

The best things in life are not _________:

10. items I will ever have to dust or dust beneath.

9. low calorie.

8. at the mall.

7. in my jewelry box, nor will they ever be.

6. on TV.

7. caffeine-free.

6. without fur or a tail that wags.

5. labeled with a prestigious name brand.

4. in the newspaper holiday inserts.

3. offered in my pant size.

2. visible or controlled by me.

1. things.

As I approach the holiday season, I must repeat the above list over and over and over. Even so, often I find myself behind the steering wheel, driving to the mall. The newspaper insert is on the seat beside me. I’m heading off to Target to pick up the cute holiday outfit I saw on TV last night, wondering if they have it in my size and if it will still be cute. I’ve been jittery lately, so I order a hot cup of Starbucks decaf at the drive up. My mind wanders to that honking big ring I saw on the Kay’s ad. I hum the tune of “Every Kiss begins with Kay’s.”

Alarmed, I hope I have the courage to immediately turn the car around and head back home where I can brew a real cup of joe. A wagging tail will greet me at the door. I’ll cuddle up with a blanket, close my eyes and make a Christmas prayer for Peace on Earth.

And then I’ll reach for that plate of cookies—food for holiday season thought.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012


By Marie Tschopp

This piece was written as a drama to be used before the lighting of the second Advent candle, the Candle of Peace, which represents the prophets who
foretold Jesus' birth.


Oh, enough walking for an old man. I need to sit and rest a minute. Rest my weary bones. Even prophets like me, Isaiah, need to rest. Oh, you’re new to these parts. Perhaps you don’t know what a prophet is? Come closer, I will tell you.

Some think of a prophet as somebody who sees the future, and this is true, but it is far more. A prophet is Yahweh’s spokesman. He (or she as the case may be) speaks on God’s behalf to convey a message or teaching. We are role models, too. We model holiness and closeness to God, setting the standard for the entire community.

When the message Yahweh gives is one of prosperity, everyone is happy. Everyone loves the prophet. When the message is one of rebuke, the ones being rebuked often try and silence the messenger.

My name, Isaiah, means, “God is Salvation,” which is the focus behind many of my prophecies. God spoke to me in detail about the coming Messiah. My people, the Jews, have waited for centuries for the Messiah to come. We are waiting for Messiah to come and break the chains of bondage and set up his kingdom for us. The Lord spoke to me and said the virgin would conceive. He said to me, “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace, there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”

What a great privilege to foretell about the coming Messiah! God also revealed more to me. He said, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

It is only a matter of time before our Messiah comes. The prophecy God gave me is not what I expected. It makes me wonder if we will recognize him when he comes. Time will tell.

Enough talking. I have much traveling to do. But there is one more thing I want to say to you. The God who spoke to me, speaks to you. Be still before him and listen.