It wasn’t that I was in search of the past…it just slipped up on me. I’m not sure if it was the birdsong filling my walk, or the breeze cooling my steps, but I think what triggered my revelry was the floating fragrance of tree blossoms. Suddenly I was a child with shiny shoes, ruffled socks, a fussy dress, and a draw string purse, on my way to Sunday School. The church building was small with peeling paint and a tattered bell tower. Inside, children filed past wooden pews, into tiny classrooms full of folding chairs and flannel boards. Soon, we children, wide-eyed with wonder, watched cutout animals traipse up the ramp onto a fuzzy ark. The best was when Jonah would go head first into the mouth of the whale. Oh, and I loved when Jesus would love on the children.
Yes, you never know when yesterday will sidle up next to you and whisper through lilacs and lily’s part of your story.
I just got into the rhythm of writing 2015. It feels like someone has their foot on the accelerator of my calendar. 2015 was a rip roaring year of conferences but also a year of severe health issues for my husband…which kept my heart on nervous tiptoes and me darting between airports, home, hospital, and rehab center.
Most of you know Les had his left leg amputated just below the knee. Had that been all it would have been enough for our whole family, but then he fell 3 different times splitting open his surgical sight each time. One of those times he had to have a blood transfusion and the last one sent him back to the hospital for surgical repairs. Through all of this Les continues to tell goofy jokes and sing Willy Nelson songs. His resilience is inspiring if not miraculous.
Now on to 2016 where the Clairmont’s are praying for restored health.
Just think we have 366 new days to learn, explore, share, and trust.
One new resolution I’m making has to do with God calling us to be givers. I am aligning my heart prayers with and for a ministry in Nashville to help homeless women, recovering prostitutes, and women trying to resume a life upon release from prison. It was established by Becca Stevens an Episcopal priest. The women are taught business skills making candles and bath products. I have been to their work center and their new cafe and I love what they are doing. So don’t be surprised when you see me offering their candles on my sites or using the hash tag #loveheals or the name Thistle Farms.
Another resolution I am trying out is setting reading goals. I read daily and eclectically and I’d like to be more intentional. So I am aiming at 24 books for the year. I’m not sure if that’s too many or too few for my time and travel commitments but I’ll find out.
Also I would like to improve my photography skills, my painting, and my poetry.
I believe in the arts if for no other reason then for my sanity. Besides travel can be lonely and the arts are great companions.
One trip coming up that I know won’t be lonely is Andrew Greer’s Stories & Songs cruise to Alaska. I hope you will join us. It will be fueled by creativity and adventure. The settings are breathtaking and the wildlife is thrilling. And we will sing and laugh and eat and learn and sightsee. We are not booking the whole ship but just a patch of rooms. We are looking at a more intimate experience where we can get to know each other and have time for our hearts to feel safe…because we believe that’s the atmosphere God does some of His sweetest work. My friends, singer/author Ginny Owens and speaker/author Robin Gunn will join Andrew and myself on the high seas. Come join us as we applaud creation and our Creator God and explore the power of our words.
Thank you for supporting my ministry and for your prayers. I pray you will experience in 2016 the fullness of His plans with a receptive heart and a grateful attitude. God bless!
I had this snappy little plan that at the close of our Women of Faith Farewell Tour, I would retire to a rocking chair in 2016 and tat door knob covers. God had a better plan and I must say a grander vision. I was invited to join the new conference Belong. Isn’t that a great name! Belong. I mean who doesn’t want a place to Belong? It’s a human need. It’s certainly one I have.
I confess for an instant I thought not trekking through another airport would be my new cup of tea. But then I heard who I’d be sharing the platform with and I was smitten with the list.
I was beside myself to have the opportunity to belong in their circle of influence. Each one is a gift. Each one has a strong voice and an inspiring message.
Throughout the Women of Faith years we have had Nichole Nordeman many times. Just between us I think Nichole is the finest song writer of her generation. And oh, that voice, so gentle yet powerful. It seems to be full of yesterday and today at the same time. And she has a new cd out. Yes!
This closing year for our original team, brought into my radar, a new kid on the block that has knocked my socks off; Jen Hatmaker. She’s funny. Purposeful. Relevant. And strong. If you’ve heard her you know that already. Jen loves her family, her friends, her faith and she makes it all so inviting. She’s definitely a party starter.
Shauna and I are new to each other…sort of. I actually first met her through several of her books. What a writer. I feel as though Shauna, Jen, and Nichole have all brought a new level of excellence to book writing. They certainly are a fresh breeze to my readerly heart. I picked up one of Shauna’s books at an airport and on completion I ordered everything she has written. Yep. I did. Then I met her at WOF and I was taken with her playful and kind heart. Shauna has hospitality written all over her.
Sarah Jakes Roberts will take you totally by surprise. She moves around the stage with the grace of royalty while being open and vulnerable about her early introduction to real life. And while Sarah’s story will make you sit up and take notice, the truths she learned will be applicable to your life. P.S. And can that girl dress. (I just had to throw that in.)
So friends gather up your favorite buds and some new friends and join us. We plan on throwing open the Belong door wide…we want you to feel welcomed. Come to our table (event). We are going to set the table before you with creative musical hospitality, serve the meals with scrumptious messages, and celebrate life together. We will sing, laugh, cry (cause we can-we are girls) and take home a “carry out” of joy! Because that’s what happens when you BELONG.
I am decades older than these girls and they have already taught me so much about courage, inclusion, and kindness. I prayed that the Lord would allow me to somehow invest in the next generation of speakers. I didn’t know how that would happen. How kind of him to answer that prayer with this group of amazing communicators. I can hardly wait to lock arms with them and visit your area. Here are the cities where we will be:
I’m Thrilled that I can offer you a discount code for $20 off each ticket plus a free t-shirt for each ticket purchased!
So just click right HERE and use the code PATSY to get your discount!
Here is an excerpt from my new book “You Are More Than You Know”
“Have you ever tried to draw a picture of your emotional life?
Instead of using a straight-edge ruler to help illustrate who we are inside, we probably would be more accurately representedby a map, perhaps the one that shows Paul’s shipwrecks, beatings, and prison visits or the journey of the Israelites on their way to the Promised Land. What looked like it should have been a short jaunt over to the land of milk and honey ended up being a forty-year escapade of ups and downs—enemies, celebrations, battles, and fears. This truly is a more accurate visual of the twists and turns within us as well as the road ahead of us.
Little has changed since that Exodus walk. We are still going through emotional ups and downs. We are still in a mind war with an adversary who’d like to take us out. We continue to have seasons of joy, though never long enough from our vantagepoint. And we are still dueling with fear.”