She's A She Speaks Graduate

      I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting myself into (or what HE was getting me into!) when I left my home this past Friday morning and headed off down the mountain foothill's curvy roads and headed towards Concord, North Carolina to go to She Speaks Conference.

      I had left pretty early that morning and then ended up having to go back home. As I was driving down the road I heard God say to drive back home. I wasn't sure why God kept on tugging at my heart to do this, but then I remembered my business cards and my article. I instantly thought back to when I was packing and came to the conclusion that I had probably forgotten to pack my business cards and that I hadn't put my two copies of my article into my bag for my writer's peer critique group. At this point I guessed that God was probably calling me back home to spare me the embarrassment of getting to the conference only to find that I had forgotten two very important things.

     I also had forgotten to hug my momma goodbye that morning too, and I knew I should have done so before I had left, but I didn't. So, I turned my little car around at the entrance to a horse farm and headed back home. Of course this was after I was already about 10 minutes away from the house. When I got back I made sure my needed affects (the ones that I was just certain weren't in my car) were in my car, which they already were, I just couldn't find them at first while frantically searching for them (I was so stinkin' nervous about the conference that I was in a tizzy!) and then I found my momma and hugged her goodbye like I never had before.

     As I left my momma's embrace, tears welling up in both our eyes and frogs tried to strangle us like mad in our dry throats. I hopped back into my stifling car and headed off towards She Speaks. I understood why I was supposed to go back. I needed my momma to calm my spirit so that I could drive safely to Concord, NC. I wanted her blessing to go... the blessing from my dear momma, the one who has always believed in me and my writings.

     I knew that I was bound for the weekend of my life. Even though I was terrified that I would have to learn how to check into a hotel for the first time, have an article of mine dissected by a writer's peer critique group and somehow manage to get the words 'thank you' out of my mouth when I met Marybeth Whalen for the first time. I knew that I was going because God wanted me to go. To drown the worry out I cranked up my AC in my car and jammed out to Adele's 21 album. If you are ever freaking out, I will say that this works well ladies, at least it does for me!

     Yes, God most definitely wanted me to be there this year. To learn, to grow, to make writer friends, to stretch myself as the young woman who is now boldly stepping forward into her adulthood. He wanted to SPEAK to me.

     I didn't just learn to write better while I was at S.S. I learned about in more depth and received all of the gifts that the Lord had prepared for me to harvest that weekend. I stepped boldly out as a writer and let two very lovely ladies dissect one of my articles in our writer's peer critique group meet. I thought I was going to be fed to the wolves, literally. Okay, so not literally, but I was terrified of letting others see my words that I had written. After Dawn and Mel went over my article drafts I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they didn't think my article was garbage after all! Sure, I needed a few tune-up's for that piece to really speak clearly the message for which I had intended it to convey, but my peer's didn't hate it as I thought they would. I think I gained some confidence in my gift of writing after that evening of pouring over articles for sure.

     I didn't just have a glorious weekend full of little squeals of fan girl delight! Although, I will admit to you that I was freaking out that I was getting to meet some of the coolest authors ever. I am going to be like those ladies someday, except I don't want to be exactly like them. I want to be free to be me!

     I also finally began to fully open my ears and heart to allow the Lord to speak to me through Lysa TerKeurst, Renee Swope, Ann Voskamp and Micca Campbell. These beautiful women spoke words that affirmed everything that the Lord has been trying to say to me over the last month or so. After hearing all of the lovely speakers I finally heard God say loud and clear: Let ME chisel your heart, Sarah. Be confident in your writing and in your spirit that is a light lit for ME. Treat every day and moment as a precious gift from God. Do not envy what other women and writer's have, for I AM has you placed right where you are at in your life for a purpose, with just the right gift for you.

     Not only did I have wonderful women speaking into my life, but I also had wonderful women teaching me how to become a better writer. I learned that becoming a better writer starts out with giving your gift (writing, speaking, women's ministry) over to Him and then letting Him direct your paths in the ministry that He has appointed you to. The writer's track wasn't just about learning how to put interesting sentences together correctly and about how you should be badgering your own work to death while looking for common spelling errors. It was about letting God chisel you...and that gift which He gave you. It was about letting His words speak through me in a unique way for the world to see through the ever expanding world of my writing's. 

    Oh, and I had my "Aha Moment!" when I discovered that I need to have a writer's notebook going for each of my novel idea projects. Thank you, Glynnis Whitwer, for that wonderful idea! I don't know why (with my being somewhat C.D.O.) I'd never thought of starting writing notebooks for each one of my in-the-works writing projects. I had such a wonderful time chatting it up with Marybeth Whalen, Mary DeMuth and Susan Meissner after our fiction panel session had ended. All of you lovely ladies have given me such inspiration, hope and encouragement in and for my blooming writing abilities. And now thanks to Rachel Olsen I know how to write a devo that is sweet, short and to the point! 

     There were so many more things that I gleaned and gained from S.S., but honestly I think I'm still processing them all! The Worship with Michael O'Brien was wonderful and moving. The writer's were, amazingly enough, pretty down to earth gals. The food was D-licious. The prayer room was so beautiful and inviting. The classes were sooooo full of helpful information, that my head nearly exploded Saturday evening (with a migraine). My roommate, Joanna, was a joy to meet and to room with. And getting to meet Marybeth, the woman who was called by God to take a chance on me and send me to She Speaks this year, were only some of the many great highlights of the best weekend of my life. 

     Oh, and I guess I should mention that I really only ever managed to get out the words 'thank' and 'you' out of my mouth every chance that I got to talk to Marybeth pretty much the whole time. Yeah, I was that nervous. I am much more relaxed with words on e-paper I'm afraid. Haha!

     I'll probably share more in the weeks to come about what I learned while at She Speaks, but for now I'll let you all go. Please, remember to let God chisel your life, be confident, give many thanks and to not covet what gift's your brother's or sister's in Christ have been given, okay? Your gift and your heart means just as much to Him as the next daughter or son's does.

Sarah Elizabeth
P.S. - Photos from my awesome She Speaks weekend can be found HERE.

...and she's off to She Speaks!

     Well, blogger lovelies, I'll be saying au revoir for just a few days. I will be away at the She Speaks 2011 Conference until Sunday. I am super excited that I was blessed with the gift of being able to attend this year's conference. I had heard about the conference last year from my momma...and then it became my pipe dream. I had entered into scholarship contests and didn't make it, but God still had plans for me to go. Even though I was quite disheartened after my failed attempt at getting a chance to go to She Speaks this year God still saw it fit to throw a lovely little miracle of His own my way. And today because of that little miracle (ahem, e-mail) I am packing my things up and will be heading out on the road in the morning! God is amazing, is He not?

     Honestly, I am in such a dreamer mode right now that I can't even wrap my mind around the fact that I will actually be leaving my Home tomorrow morning to drive to Concord, North Carolina to attend a writer's conference that has been my pipe dream, now turned into a beautiful reality, for so very long. I am sooooooooo very excited about attending the conference!  And about meeting my roommate, Joanna, and all of the many lovely writer's and speaker's that will be there too! =)

     As of today I've finished writing my article for my writer's peer critique group, made myself some adorable 'business' cards and now I am in the process of painstakingly packing everything that I will need to take with me to the conference for the next three days. As you all know I am no fan of packing...usually...but today I am a ginormous fan of having to pack a 10 ton suitcase for my dream writer's getaway! I am so ready to learn more about the art of writing and about how God personally wants to use me and my gift of writing for Him.

     Most of all I am thankful to God for letting this opportunity of a lifetime come to fruition. I didn't think I would ever be able to attend, and then I got an e-mail in my inbox that will forever be remembered as one that has changed my life forever...yes, I already know it will change my life and I'm not even at the conference yet! I got an e-mail from a Proverbs 31 writer who had found my blog, loved my photography and knew that I couldn't afford to go to She Speaks. Then she changed my life forever with one simple e-mail.

     Curt and Marybeth Whalen generously went above and beyond, and have blessed me with the gift of attending She Speaks this year. You may know Marybeth Whalen as one of Proverbs 31 Devotional writers, as well as a contributor to She Reads, Southern Belleview and as the author of the novel's 'The Mailbox' and 'She Makes It Look Easy' which is her most currently released novel. You can also find Marybeth on her personal blog too: Cheaper By The Half Dozen. She is a lovely writer, with a huge heart and I absolutely cannot wait to meet her in person this weekend at She Speaks! I will forever be indebted to her and her husband.

     Thank you very much Marybeth, and Curt, for blessing me in such a monumental way. Truly, I am speechless and in awe of just about everything at the moment that is going on in my life as a wannabe-writer because of you both. Thank you so much for sparking one of my dreams to life, and for also deciding to pour into me by taking a chance on me.
     Well, it's about time that I finished packing up my things and spent some time in His Word before I head to work for my last work night of the week (it's been inventory week for us at the Family Christian Store and it's been crazy, but good...lot's of extra hours! Praise the Lord!) If you wouldn't mind saying a prayer or two for me this weekend while I'm away at She Speaks I'd be truly thankful for it! I so desperately want this time at the conference to strengthen my God given abilities as a writer, to mold me and to stretch me further than I've ever been stretched before in my writing abilities. I hope that there will be a deeper stirring in my heart, and that God will steer my heart towards Him even more. I want to hear Him, and what He has to say specifically to me this weekend through the many speakers, writer's and peers that I will come into contact with.

     I hope you all have a very blessed weekend! Remember to shine brightly for Him, and to lay those burdens of yours down at His feet every morning when you wake! I sure hope you'll choose to be a 'Mary' this week.

Much Love,
Sarah Elizabeth

The Lantern Lit Soul

{images via:}
My eyes are closed, the room is darkened now where I am. I stand still, feet swaying a bit, trying to stay upright, keeping my feet steadied as best I can. Eyes are closed even tighter now. My hands are clasped with others' on either side of my left and right. We stand in a circle, asking Him to enter in. Conversations to God float through the air, for the young ones, like sweet melodies carried on the wind, they are heard all over the room. They encompass everything, calling every wayward thought to attention. We pray for strength. We pray for them to surrender their precious lives to Him for care. We pray for them to be the voice of God in a darkened world. We pray that the light may grow deeper within their hearts...evermore...and ever on...

We pray that lantern souls be lit.

Together they stand. Strung together they're now strengthened, with numbers as stars, the light illuminates the sea of faces and spreads onward. Apart from the others only a solitary light beams for Him, but does not cast much more than a lone shadow in an already darkened room. They know that we are together in this illumined room, but when we step outside the Church doors we will become more likened to rogue lanterns? So together we gather in heart and in minds, leaving together as one lantern lit for Him.

This is how I felt, and what I saw and heard when praying over my boyfriend's brother and his youth group at their Church. The Youth had just gotten back recently from a mission's trip and they were giving their testimonies about their time serving others, and then they asked us (the whole Church congregation that was there at the evening service) to pray for them to be light's in their schools, their community and in their families, for Christ. 

It was a beautiful time of prayer. I wanted so desperately to leave as a changed person from that room, and I most certainly did. My soul has been lit as a lantern, and is slowly brightening day by day. I've been reminded that I can be a light even in the darkest of places and times. I can be a light where I work at and in how I choose to live the life that God has given me. 

Seeing those young ones stand up before the Church and proclaiming boldly that they wanted to be warriors for Christ in their community sparked something within me. I've realized now that where I work at is truly a battlefield. It's a battlefield that is truly a gift to me. It's a field, ready for a major soul harvest.

 I'm here where I live at right now, even where I work at, for a reason beyond my own understanding. I have the opportunity to be a light at the bookstore, in my Home and in my community. What a gift is it not? The gift of a light within that can be outwardly shone. I will proclaim the name of Jesus boldly. I have the rite. I am His light to shine from every hilltop. I am as a lantern lit aflame.

We can be a light...strengthening the light as we glow brighter and brighter together for Christ! We are called to be that single light that ignites one after another to alight a string of lantern souls. Will you become lit? Will you light the world on fire alongside me? Always hold this dear to your heart: He is the constant light in this shadowed world that lights the lantern soul.

This post was written for Seth, and every other lantern soul out there longing to burn brightly for Jesus Christ

A She & He Road Trip

{{{image via:}}}

That's right. I'm waking up early tomorrow morning to head out on a road trip. Sigh. I adore long road trips, as long as I have plenty of cd's, books, coffee or sweet tea to keep me fueled up along the way I'm a-okay. A word of warning though for any of you who are possibly going to be taking a road trip this Summer: Don't try Sushi that is piled mile high with Wasabi for the first time while zooming down the interstate at over 70 mph. Yeah, it's just not smart. And if you know me then you know that I couldn't possibly be talking from experience here, right? 

Anyway... Luckily I had three days off in a row from work this weekend/coming week...and my boyfriend is getting ready to start back at school before you know Jared decided to ask me if I'd accompany him on a nearly-five-hour-long-road-trip to go visit his dad, mom and younger brother for a couple of days on the other side of our beloved state while we both have the time to. And of course I said, yes! Because I LOVE ROAD TRIPS, remember?

That said, I may or may not be hanging around Blogger for quite a few days. We'll see...

Well, I suppose I ought to go finish packing my 15,000 suitcases bags for mine and Jay's road trip. You should know that I absolutely abhor packing for trips. It takes me hours, heaped upon hours, to pack all of my things whether I'm going on a 2 day trip or a week long trip. Yes, I struggle to just get it done and I have no clue why. Call it an absurd trip disorder or a strange quirk if you like, but it's the truth. Do you think I could hire a personal luggage packer, instead of a personal shopper? Just wondering. Okay, really now. I'm off to pack in just a minute...

Wanna know something completely random? I heard a lot of squawking when I started writing this post emerging from our garage so I went to go see what all of the fuss was about. Yeah, our chickens decided to break loose from their brooder box and declared their independence as free range chickens instead by perching on top of the brooder box. Gah, those silly feathered female fiends crack me up!

I'll be back after I survive thoroughly enjoy my road trip with my handsome guy. I hope you all have a wondy-ful weekend! ;)

-Sarah Elizabeth

P.S. - I also added a booklist page (located underneath my header) to my newly designed blog. Check it out.

Oh, Doctor Who & His Fab Call Box

{all images, minus one, in this post are via:}

I will admit that Nathan Petrie (my old fellow comrade and Silvertree Tribe Team Captain) of Whispered Roars has gotten me hooked on the BBC show Doctor Who. Nathan posts ALL THE TIME on his FB wall about Doctor Who, so I finally caved in after having my interest piqued over and over and watched the show for the first time a few weeks back. (Netflix has the show available in their instant queue right now!!)

{Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor}
The Doctor is mysterious, and changes his form over time (sadly I assume this means that Christopher Eccleston will only have played The Doctor for a short time.) The humor is just simply humoresque. Then there's the time travel bit, which by definition rocks. There's talk of a war between aliens and the Time Lords, which honestly sets my overly creative mind into a frenzy envisioning it all taking place. The episodes are classicly sci-fi jam packed and completely quirky out the wazoo. The creature designs are epic. The old police call box...well, truth be told I want to live in the call box Tardis!

{Rose & The Doctor - image via:}
I've only watched about 4 or 5 episodes of Doctor Who at this point in time, but much like Primeval , another one of my fave Britt shows, this show has captivated my mind and taken it hostage, by call box of course this go around. The season I've been watching has had Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper leading the main roles thus far. I really love the character of Rose (played by Billie Piper) because she is so witty, fiesty and strong willed (and, oh dear Lord I think I'm talking about me and not her at this point! She and I are alike. lol!) I know I've seen Eccleston in another role before, and I absolutely positively love him as The Doctor. I think I may be sad to see him go, but hopefully the other Doctor's will be as smashingly brilliant a chap as he is!

Yes, I'm pretty sure that I've fallen head over heels for The Alien Being/Time Lord Doctor. I mean, where else can you watch a show about time travel, see an old vintage police call box, a Time Lord in action, ghosts and Charles Dickens all in one episode? Um, that would be a big fat NOWHERE else folks!

{T.A.R.D.I.S. - Time and Relative Dimension in Space}
So, do you imagine yourself traveling in time alongside The Doctor in his magical blue call box? Or have you yet to be sucked in by this brilliant BBC program that's been running on and off the air for nearly 50 years!?