retreat & request :: a call to believe

In seventh grade I turned in a handwritten four-page book report, all neat and tidy on wide ruled paper, feeling immensely proud. One week later, flipping quickly to the back page where teacher’s notes lived, I stopped short at her words.

“Daniele, you couldn’t have written this report. Copying is not allowed…and the report only needs to be a page.”

I knew it was longer than she expected, but I didn’t copy.  I wrote it.

She didn’t believe me.

And so I swallowed embarrassment and turned in ‘only a page’.  I got an A+ with comments making parents proud.  Not sure where that report ended up, but I saved my original for years.

In a college children’s literature class, all students presented interpretations of a book, along with creative activities for particular age groups.

My turn came, heart racing and hands shaking slightly as I offered thoughts, reflections and a required original activity.  ‘Pop the Pressure’ it was named, a rowdy game with balloons and such, matching the theme of the book and hopefully appealling to 5th graders.

Presentation ending, I waited for the oral evaluation.

This instructor paused, writing several notes, and then commented,

“That was very good, excellent…but is this your original work?”

Fumbling for a reply, feeling smaller than my 7th grade self, I somehow affirmed that yes, it was actually mine.

But I could tell she didn’t believe me.

Those encounters stand out only because they were few.  Providentially, life for me has included incredible English and literature instructors, passionate men and women who also had faith in their students.

And the support of community cannot be ignored :: other writers, family and friends who encourage, comment and criticize in the most helpful of ways.  God knew.  He still knows this need for those who believe.

Why do I write this today?

For one, there is a group of such believers gathering soon!  A writer’s conference of extraordinary content, who will serve up acceptance, direction, instruction on a literary buffet sure to please.  The High Calling community is offering a place at the table — a free trip for one kindred heart and mind to the Laity Lodge Writer’s Retreat.

I’m to write why I need to be there :: that’s simple.

I want to surround myself with those who believe.

But writing may not be your passion…

yet there’s something, isn’t there?

Some idea, a driving energy, a burning concern or vision that just won’t let go of you.  Your life is dedicated to it, or perhaps you’re wishing it was.

Whatever your place, I write today for a second reason :: don’t ignore it. Whether this affects parenting, marriage or another relationship; maybe it’s your business or business opportunity, an area of study, vocation, gifting or calling…

Find those who believe. Who have faith in you and in the God who births ideas, whispers fresh thoughts, and impresses our minds with ways to expand His kingdom.

A life spent pining away, wishfully thinking and hoping is one destined for regrets.  It’s not the life of a kingdom child, ruled by a God who birthed vision to begin with.

Pick up where you are, brush off the dust…

…and believe.


{If you are a writer, or like me not sure about labeling yourself with illustrious titles but enjoy the craft anyway, consider tossing your name into the hat —  A free trip to Laity Lodge’s Writer’s Retreat may be a first step?  Think about it…}



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