Posts Tagged ‘Paul Young’


Lessons Learned from My First Writer’s Conference…

Multnomah Waterfall

Multnomah Waterfall

  1. I will pack the kitchen sink for one weekend trip, but forget my toothbrush. Really? And I even made a packing list. *sigh*
  2. Traveling with the PH is so much nicer than traveling alone. Why? Because he has Executive Platinum level benefits everywhere. Essentially, this means everything is bigger and faster. Kinda like Texas highways.
  3. I can start and finish reading one book, complete 6 difficult Sudoku puzzles, do 1 Bible reading, ponder 1 Puritan Prayer reading, eat lunch, drink a can of diet Pepsi and a bottle of water, and take a pretty good nap all on a 4 hour flight.
  4. My favorite SUV in the whole wide world is ready for rental, but the bargain price (even with Executive Platinum PH benefits) is only $ 75 more a day than the very comfy Nissan Altima we rented instead. (That’s a bargain? That’s a benefit? Hmmm…They apparently never met my garage-sale-shopping mother.)
  5. On the way to the Christian university where the conference was held,one can visit 3 adult lounges and “Hemp City,” home of medicinal marijuana for all. We passed.
  6. To make a right turn in Portland, one must go left, then left again, then veer left, then right, then turn left to ultimately turn right. I hope the civil engineer that designed Portland’s roads was not a Purdue grad. If so, I live in utter shame.
  7. Really green grass does exist. It just doesn’t exist in Texas.
  8. Azaleas do bloom. Trees do, too.
  9. My home church praise band isn’t the only one that can rock out when “one or more are assembled in His name.”
  10. Paul Young has ESP. He can read my soul as if it’s his own. He can read 200 other, different souls the same way.
  11. Jesus poetry slams are da bomb.
  12. Step away from the cookies. However, do drink the coffee. Portland is definitely in Starbucks country.
  13. I understand, now, why the northwest brews such awesome coffee. The days are often cold, wet, humid and cloudy. A good cup of coffee is essential.
  14. The 8 hours I spent learning more about Christian writing were probably the most intense I have ever experienced. And most of it had little to do with writing.
  15. I am shy when around 250 fellow believers.
  16. I am at home with 250 strangers, even if shy.
  17. I am a self-publishing writer and not an agent/publisher kind of writer. At least not yet.
  18. The best way to finish a conference? Visit the Columbia store and eat dinner at the top of the world. Even with clouds and fog, it’s a beautiful view and a wonderful meal.
  19. The PH can get an awful lot done when he doesn’t have to work and he’s just waiting on his wife.
  20. The best breakfast in town on Sunday morning is at the bottom of a waterfall.
  21. The best after-breakfast workout is to climb to the top of the waterfall.
  22. The PH goes faster up the mountain.
  23. MaryAnn goes faster down the mountain.
  24. Climbing one waterfall isn’t enough…at least not for the PH.
  25. I have visions of Twilight dancing through my head when climbing waterfalls in Oregon.
  26. I hate switchbacks, especially when there’s 11 of them between me and the top of a waterfall.
  27. Oregon mileage is the same as 3-day walk mileage. Translation? The mileage estimates lie, particularly if the distance measured is vertical in nature.
  28. I was proud of my climbing abilities until I saw a man twice my age climb the same waterfall, unassisted.
  29. I was proud of my climbing abilities until I saw 3 people running up the mountain…with backpacks.
  30. I used to think I was in shape. Back to the drawing board.
  31. I can get up at 3:45 am. There is a 3:45 am.
  32. My calves and thighs are killing me today.
  33. I am blessed with a wonderful husband.
  34. I am blessed to encounter wonderful writers who counsel me and answer a ridiculous sum of questions just because they serve a risen Lord.


Point to Ponder Challenge: When is the last time you tried something new? Time to “climb another mountain” in your life? May I pray for your success, endurance and courage?

Tomorrow’s Post: Staple-head…




Slow Reader Thursday: Cross Roads

Cross Roads

A rather large Christian literary uproar was caused by the release of Wm. Paul Young‘s The Shack in 2007. Why? Because Paul Young enjoys stretching our feeble Christian minds with unusual descriptions of the Trinity and forcing us to think in uncomfortable directions. But, The Shack is sheer brilliance and Young writes the way I hope to write someday. My brilliant mother-in-law gave me The Shack (I refer to her as the “Christian Book-of-the-Month Club.”) and I was not sure I had time to read it, but again, the title intrigued me and I undertook it anyway.

I am a stoic Scot by ancestry and so, bursting into tears without explanation is not okay in my family. But, I found myself doing exactly that as I read The ShackWas that a terribly bad thing? Nope. It was something I apparently needed. Paul Young knows how to reach our deepest hurts and reassure us that God knows those hurts and plans on healing them completely. Not only does he do this with his writing, but also with his speaking. I was privileged to be in the audience to hear Paul Young speak about The Shack and he is as warm in person as he is in his writing.

Of course, his sophomore effort, Cross Roadshas been much anticipated. And fortunately, a good friend lent me Cross Roads so I wouldn’t have to budget it into the household account. Let me say, at the outset, that any writer’s sophomore effort is most likely not going to be as surprising and “brilliant” as an inaugural book. Why? Because we are already used to having our minds “bent” in that writer’s particular style. This is also true of Cross Roads

However, any time Paul Young wants to mess with my mind is fine with me. And yes, he messes with your mind once againIn Cross Roads we meet another man who is unwilling to deal with his past, but in a completely different way than in The Shack. About the time you think you cannot be surprised by Young‘s writing, he surprises yet again. And I love how Young weaves another famous writer into his storytelling in such a way that only the well-read reader will discern. It’s like an “inside joke” that only a few of us understand.

Oh, how I wish George Lucas or Steven Spielberg would undertake to make movies of his books. Of course, they would probably make a mockery of the poignancy of such writing, but it would be sure to capture the rich “textures” of Young‘s writing and the incredible imagination of his “world.”

But, until such time, I guess I will have to wait for Young‘s next book.

Or do I?

Paul Young is the featured keynote speaker at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference this coming April in Portland, OR. Guess who has her flight booked to listen to him…for the second time? Yep…that would me. I will be the knee-knocking chick in the audience who is wondering what she’s doing at a writer’s conference. Wanna join me? 🙂

Tomorrow’s Post: You might be a Naturalized Texan Woman If…