Dianne Barker here with a few thoughts about the presence of God with us. Long ago the prophet Isaiah wrote, “…The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). What difference does his presence make in an ordinary life? Read More →

This time of year we’re consumed with purchasing, wrapping, and giving gifts. We stretch our budgets, schedules, and sanity to position piles of colorful boxes and bags underneath glittery trees. And if we’re honest, we wonder about gifts we’ll receive. Will they be anything we want and like?

As writers, in between we struggle to put words on paper and meet deadlines, wondering and worrying if we’ll finish everything on time. Why did we agree to write during Christmastime, anyway? Why push ourselves through this?

Because we’ve been handed a remarkable gift. A gift from God.

Midst the stress, we can calm our souls and reflect on what these writers say about His gift of writing.

  • Writing is a gift from God. “I write because writing is the gift God has given me to help people in the world.”—Anne Lamott
  • Writing is a privileged gift. “And what, do you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right.”—Ray Bradbury
  • Writing is a gift to yourself. “Writing is an extreme privilege, but it’s also a gift. It’s a gift to yourself and it’s a gift of giving a story to someone.”—Amy Tan
  • Writing is a gift to others. “View your work as a gift to the world—as a bridge built to create connection or a door opened wide through which others might pass. Pour your heart into it, knowing you might make a difference in someone’s life.”—Ann Kroeker
  • Writing is a gift back to God. “Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”—Leo Buscaglia

We can pause with gratitude for the gift of writing because “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”—James 1:17

Judith Couchman is a writer, writing coach, and professor who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’s traditionally published more than 42 books, Bible studies, and compilations. Learn more about her writing at www.judithcouchman.com.








Marlene Banks
Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin

Merry Christmas from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing author Marlene Banks, whose novels span from the Civil War to the Wild West to the Roaring Twenties to today! You’ll love what Marlene has to share about keeping your focus where it belongs.

Marlene, how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?

Marlene Banks

Marlene Banks

Seven published works, including Ruth’s Redemption, Son of a Preacherman, Greenwood and Archer, Gunmen of Nicodemus, and the Bea Happy series. Read More →

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Hello from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs where it’s finally cooling down. I’m looking forward to our “winter” that is never a winter wonderland, but still wonderful.

Years ago I created an Advent family activity I called, “Box of Blessings.” It helped our family’s thoughts focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Here are the directions to create it.

Wrap a large box with Christmas paper, wrapping the lid separate. Gather 24 visual aids, wrap each one individually, write out tags for each with an object lesson, Scripture and discussion question. (On each tag, write a number indicating the order it should be opened). Place the gifts in the box.

On December 1, open the large gift-wrapped box containing 24 small wrapped gifts, and read the enclosed tag: “Today we are beginning a Christmas project. We will open a different present for the next 24 days to help remind us of God’s most precious gift His Son Jesus.”

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing for your own “Box of Blessings.” If you’d like to receive a full list of the 24 visual aids along with the object lesson, Scripture, and discussion question, reply to this email or email KathyCollardMiller@gmail.com and write “Box of Blessings” in the subject line. I’d love to send it to you.

Gift: Several pieces of any kind of food. READ: Does food always stay the same even after a long time? No, it changes when it gets old, doesn’t it? But Jesus never changes; He is always the same. (Hebrews 13:8) Why do you think it is important that Jesus never changes?

Gift: A heartshaped object. READ: Hearts remind us of love. We love others, but did you know that God loves us even more? (I Corinthians 13:47) How many things about love can we find in these verses? Read More →