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Christy Catherine Marshall

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April 3, 2007

Carol of She Lives blog honored me with a nice surprise yesterday. She gave me a Thinking Blogger Award because she says I challenge her to “think about my writing as a writer rather than just about blogging as a blogger.” Nice!

So I’m encouraged to pass along this Thinking Blogger Award to five writers who make me think. And I happily salute:

Sallie of A Gracious Home — who is a school teacher turned stay-at-home mom and has become a mentor to her many blog readers. If you haven’t yet read her seven-part Forty by 40 series, it’s wonderful! She recently shared 40 bits of wisdom she’s picked up during her four decades of life. By the way, Sallie, Happy Birthday!

MomKori of Smile Smile — a delightful Japanese mother of two who lives and writes in English from Nara, Japan. Her blog is a joy to read! I always pick up something new about Japanese culture and daily living. Since I made many trips to Nara while I lived in Japan, I love “visiting” MomKori through her blog — she lives in a beautiful city! (Long story: my husband proposed to me in Nara!)

Gina Conroy of Portrait of a Writer Interrupted. I love Gina’s writing because we’re in the same season of life! She’s a busy mother of four who desperately loves her family, but also desperately loves to write. Her passion for reaching out to others led to the founding of Writer … Interrupted, an encouraging site for writing parents who must write … in between … life.

Ruth of “It’s True,” Sighed Roo. Ruth is my Canadian friend who constantly reminds me of the joys of early motherhood when I visit her blog. She writes about her sweet little daughter who is about the same age as my youngest. These days go by so fast, and Ruth is taking time to savor them!

Blair of Scribblings by Blair. I love keeping up with Blair’s weekly goals, which encourage me with my own goals. She’s a busy mother of four who blogs in between homeschooling and enjoying her role as wife and homemaker. I’m looking forward to having one of Blair’s books on my bookshelf someday!

There’s my five — hope you can visit some of these amazing thinking bloggers!




March 10, 2007

Do you want to write a book, but feel like you could use a pep talk to make some progress?

Heather Sellers’ book Chapter after Chapter contains some great ideas. I’m blogging today over at Writer … Interrupted about what we can do to stay on target in meeting our goals. Come join me over there if you have a minute!

If you’re an author and you’re wondering whether blogging is worth it or a waste of time, you’re not the only one asking this question. This recent article in Publisher’s Weekly, To Blog or Not to Blog, shows that, for some authors, blogging is so 2006.

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging,Writing | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)



March 3, 2007

There are so many things going on in bloggityville. I just checked over at the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party, and there are over 430 blogs signed up. Wow! That’s a lot of people. The party will go through Friday — so you’re still invited to join in the fun.

The new issue of Christian Women Online is out this month — so you’re probably seeing this cover picture of Ellie Kay on people’s blogs. I hope you’ll find a chance to go read my interview with her. My Book Buzz column focused on Ellie’s new book, 1/2 Price Living, published by Moody. She’s known as “America’s Family Financial Expert.” And she’s a mom of seven children who also skydives! She has some great tips on how to live on one income — and why it’s worth it.

I browsed through the whole issue last night — and every article and column was so inspiring. I especially enjoyed Allison Bottke’s Boomer Babes Rock column this month, entitled Seven Things You Can Do Today to Start Living Your Dreams. She shares about a big risk she took recently and what she learned from it. Allison is someone who inspires me because she says she didn’t publish her first book until she was 45 years old. But within six years, she’s become the bestselling author of over 20 books — the God Allows U-Turns series, as well as other non-fiction books and two novels (one not yet released). I read Allison’s A Stitch in Time novel, and she’s a fabulous, funny writer! The theme of her column is “It’s never too late!” I love this. Don’t you?

Other things going on:

I joined in the Carnival of Christian Writers last Monday at Gina Conroy’s Writer … Interrupted site. There are submissions from several authors and two literary agents who acquire books in the CBA. Every one of these posts is rich with information — but I must say that Chip MacGregor’s post on Ten Changes in Christian Publishing is truly fascinating.

I wanted to thank author Jenn Doucette for sharing about me and my book on her blog. Out of all the blog tours I’ve given, she’s the first person who has ever taken the time to write a post about each one of her tour hosts. How nice! I like hosting blog tours — but it does take up time to upload the right-size author photo and book cover — as well as devote a day to it. So this was much, much appreciated!

Tricia Goyer is one of the most prolific writers I know — and she somehow manages to keep up with at least a half-dozen of her own blogs. She recently posted an article from me, Six Tips for Building a Savvy Blog Readership on her It’s Real Life blog. This stemmed from something I’d posted to an online group, giving me a chance to expound a little bit on one of my pet peeves — I find it unnerving when someone I barely know writes and asks me to link to them! I link to other bloggers when I’ve gotten to know them or I really like something specific they’ve written. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this way, because there’s some more about this at Shannon and Chilihead’s Blogging Basics 101 site, which is packed with useful information.

I also want to thank Bethany House publishers for including my interview with C. Hope Flinchbaugh on the front page of their site this month. They have a section entitled Authors in the Media, which I think is a great way to interact with readers. I don’t know many publishers who do this — but check out the left side of their home page. The Bethany House site is always fresh with updates — a bonus for their authors!

And last but not least, I wanted to thank author Sharon Hinck for linking to me in her Around the World Blog Tour. This is one of the most fun tours I’ve given — and it’s no wonder Sharon’s novels have become so popular (besides the fact that Becky Miller is an inspiring, funny character) — she treats us little people like we matter. I thought it was neat that she had a “travel agent” set up her tour. I’ve never heard this expression before (in the context of blog tours) — but I thought it was a nice way of thanking an assistant who took care of all the correspondence required to set this up.

I think I’m caught up now — this is what happens when I take off a week!

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)



February 6, 2007

I want to thank the kind person who nominated me for the Share the Love Blog Awards. Wow. Made my day.

If you’re so inclined, I’d love it if you’d click here and vote for me in category #5, Most Inspiring. And while you’re there, stick around and cast your ballot for the other blogs you enjoy.

Voting ends February 6th. Thanks!




February 2, 2007

We’ve finally made it to February: a whole month devoted to LOVE.

Our family seemed to drag through January — trying to recover from the stress of the holidays — then sliding into nearly a month of being off-and-on sick.

I’ve been almost confined to my home, wiping noses and checking thermometers — instead of relaxing with friends at church. I’ve missed my beloved women’s Bible study so much.

A friend who has also been home week after week with three sick preschoolers confided to me recently, “I hate to say this, but it’s almost like being in jail. I just can’t get out of the house!”

Yet I’m reminded by this encouraging post, It Gets Easier, that one day it will get easier! Maybe in a few years, I’ll be TEACHING a women’s Bible study — instead of straggling in worn out and late, if at all. But for now, this seems to be my writing season.

I’ve also been busy reading books lately — and you can see what I’ve had on my nightstand in this month’s CWO Book Buzz. It’s truly amazing how God ministers to me through each book I read — whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, I’m having a ball!

I learned to read fast in college. I was an English major, and I filled up my schedule with as many literature and writing classes as possible. But still, my daily routine now is nothing like in those days of being single — I have to snatch my reading in snippets here and there. I’ll confess that I’ve cut WAY down on my blog reading — and I’ve had to adjust to the feeling that I’m missing out on the “news.”

In this month’s column, I reviewed seven books — chosen from over two dozen that were sent to me. I also receive emails nearly every day from people requesting that I review their books — and I hate having to tell people “no,” but I really don’t want to waste their postage and time if I don’t think the book would be inspirational for CWO readers.

I’m already hard at work on next month’s column. Behind the scenes, I’m working on setting up an interview with a fantastic woman — I just finished reading her book, and I’m dying to ask her some questions. How fun that I get to do this and share it with so many people!

This month’s issue focuses on love, appropriately, and Darlene has a great interview with Robin Lee Hatcher, author of over 50 books.

I enjoyed reading Robin’s Christmas novel last year — I happened to leave a comment in Gina’s Novel Journey blog, which entered me in a contest to win, A Carol for Christmas. The book arrived, signed by the author, a day before my December deadline, so I flew through it. I love Robin’s writing — she’s a joy! And you can enter this month’s book draw to win one of Robin’s novels, Ribbon of Years or Firstborn.

In Darlene’s Letter from the Editor, she writes:

With all this talk about love, I couldn’t help but focus on Jesus Christ — after all, both His life and death were a gift of love. A love that brought Him to the cross so that His Father’s will would be complete. A love that, even though He was God, drew Him to lower himself to the form of a man. A love that powered this “man” to live a life without sin so that He would be the spotless sacrifice for the One True God. A love that although He prayed asking that the cup of suffering be taken from Him, led to His death. An incomparable love.

Yes, I agree. An incomparable love.




February 1, 2007


Recently, in the blogosphere, there was a discussion, a very good discussion, about whether or not meditating on scripture is “New Age.” The blog post referred to an article by Keri Wyatt Kent in the popular magazine, Today’s Christian Woman.

I read the article, Fresh Air, in the magazine when it came to my house, and I thought it was great. It encouraged me to hold on to certain words, certain phrases from the Bible and meditate on them throughout the day. This is so important for us women, especially us moms who are being watched nearly every second by the little souls God has put into our homes to disciple.

So I was surprised at some of the things that were said about this article, and especially surprised at some of the comments by bloggers who didn’t take the time to read Keri’s article to understand her full meaning.

Well, we must be careful not to use our blogs as a place to gossip. In Matthew 18:15, it says “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

What this means is — if you have a problem with someone, you need to go to that person individually to discuss it. In the 21st century this means if you don’t like something someone says or writes, it’s not a good idea to go blog about them and get your readers to turn against them as well. For one thing, misunderstandings ABOUND when we read words instead of seeing the speaker say them in person. (Body language and voice intonation account for a huge percentage of communication).

Keri Wyatt Kent is a fine Christian woman, a mother who has given her life to the Lord, and who uses her gifts of speaking and writing to lead women to a closer walk with Jesus. You can write her personally from her website.

She was a guest on my blog last April. I read her entire book, Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life and reviewed it for CWO Book Buzz here. You can read our interview here.

She is NOT a New Ager — she’s not leading people into a cult. She’s leading them into a deeper love of Scripture through meditating on God’s Word. Keri has often encouraged me as a weary mom with her inspiring articles in the magazine MOPS publishes, MomSense.

In case you didn’t click over to read the complete article, here’s what Keri says about the practice of listening:

Christians have prayed and listened to Scripture through a practice called Lectio Divina (Latin for “Sacred Word”) for centuries. You read a passage slowly several times, spending time in silence between readings, letting the words sink into your soul as you listen for the one word or phrase that touches you most deeply.

Lectio Divina is a way to meditate on Scripture by listening and then responding—breathing in God’s Word, breathing out a prayer. Traditionally, this practice includes four parts: reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Deep listening to Scripture requires a focus on God’s words rather than ours. In Lectio Divina, I listen to what God wants to say just to me through the text. I’m open to listening not just to general truth that’s applicable to everyone, but for specific truth that applies to my unique circumstances.

In this practice, I read a short passage. For a month or more one summer, I kept going back to Psalm 27, reading a few verses at a time. I found myself drawn to verses 3-5, so for several days, I returned to that short section. I read it slowly, noticing how often I found myself drawn to the word “dwell.” What did it mean for me to “dwell in the house of the Lord” (vs. 4)? Did I really believe I was “safe in his dwelling”? How could I truly dwell in his presence?

These verses became a love letter from God to me, an invitation to deeper intimacy with him …

She later continues to explain the practice of “breath prayer:”

Psalm 1:2 exhorts us to meditate on God’s Word, to delight in it. Unlike Eastern meditation practices, which focus on emptying the mind, a breath prayer is a way of filling your mind—but filling it with God alone.

I ask you, is there anything unbiblical about this? David meditated on scripture throughout the psalms. If I had more time and were not taking care of sick children, I’d look up many verses in the Bible where God’s people meditated on the Word, including Jesus, who was constantly meditating on scripture.

This morning where I live, it’s cold and rainy. My voice is hoarse, and I keep coughing from this nagging cold that has swept through our whole family (three kids still sick).

My two oldest daughters were slow to get up for school, complaining about this and that. My 1st grader couldn’t find her favorite shoes, and we spent 20 minutes running around the house looking for them, until we at last found them in our downstairs bathroom.

All during this time, I had a verse in my head: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). We know this is when Joshua is talking to the Israelites, giving them the choice to serve the Almighty God or to wander off and choose the false gods of the Amorites, in whose land they were settling.

My mind dwelt on the word, “CHOOSE.” Every second, I had a choice. Will I lash out in wrath at my daughter for being careless and whiny? Every part of me wanted to scream, “If you’d put your shoes in your closet where they belong, they wouldn’t be lost! Quit your whining!”

Instead, I kept my voice soft and my tones encouraging. I found another pair of shoes for her and put these on her feet tenderly while we kept up our search.

When I realized I had forgotten to pack lunches, the words came again to my mind, “Choose whom you will serve.” This means, will I live for Jesus and offer a sacrifice of praise with my lips? Or will I live for me and scream out, “OH NO! I forgot the lunches! Why can’t you kids pack your own lunches?” Blah blah blah.

The choice came. I packed their lunches quickly, without complaint. I CHOSE God’s way because I’d hidden His Word in my heart — through meditating on a single verse when I desperately needed it most.

I’m not writing all this to make myself look good — because I have the choice right now to go have fun and read some blogs or get off the computer and go wash the breakfast dishes that are stacked in the sink. Yet another choice, and guess what I know I must do? Without complaining!

I’m reading the Bible through this year chronologically, so I’m reading huge passages that make me feel like I’m reading a novel. But the Bible is not a novel. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” MY HEART. My achy-breaky evil old heart.

This Word is living in me, breathing fire in me, helping me to slay the dragons of my emotions (anger, bitterness, depression) that have had a hold on me during my hormonally wacky child-bearing years (yes, a whole decade of feeling this way!).

As I read through the comments in a follow-up post I’m more impressed than ever with two women of God: Carol Moxley and Ann Voskamp. Their comments were written using wisely chosen words, demonstrating a love of Truth — but above all, a love of God’s people. (Oh, how I wish I had the gift of writing like these two women of faith!)

Ann has taught me so much about being thankful through her gentle, quiet spirit — and I’ve had to realize how awful my attitudes have been over the years. She has made the Bible come alive for me through her living, active faith. And I admire Carol for her ability to discern good from evil and to have the courage to stand up for what is right.

I’m not there yet — I’m still a mess, still a work in progress, making mistakes every second. But I love these women of faith, for what they continue to teach me. And I will CHOOSE today, this very second to serve the Lord. Which means getting off the computer and getting out my Windex, thanking God that I have a home to clean and a family to care for.

That’s my choice for today. What’s yours?

[Edit: Catez Stevens of AllThings2all in New Zealand has an extremely thoughtful post on this topic. In fact, she wrote Keri Wyatt Kent with her questions, and posted Keri’s reply, which clears up many misunderstandings. Please go read her post, Transcendental Meditation & Prayer: A Short Discussion with Keri Wyatt Kent.]




January 28, 2007


If you’re the parent of a teen who uses MySpace, do you know what’s really going on? I read this great article in Today’s Christian Woman called A Mom’s Guide to MySpace that I urge you to read.

We’re not there yet — but I can tell you right now, I’m so glad there are already pioneer parents going before me writing magazine articles and books about this topic.

Also, Stacy of Active Christian Media has launched a new site called Being Safe Online. I urge you to go visit her site and scroll down a bit. She’s very up to date and aware of threats that are out there.

Please be careful about what you put online. You may think it’s fun to post pictures of your precious children and share intimate details of your family life — but don’t forget that you’re sharing with potential predators as well as your blogging friends and family.

Also, if you think you blog anonymously because you only use your first name, remember it only takes one link from another blogger who knows your first and last name — and you’re not anonymous anymore.

I hope you’ll check out Being Safe Online.

By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging,Family,Parenting | Permalink | Comments Off on Being Safe Online



January 20, 2007

Cindy Sproles of Mountain Breeze Ministries has been writing a series called “Christians with the Heart of a Servant.” She’s highlighted the ministries of several people, including, most recently Mom 2 Mom.

I sometimes forget that blogging here is my ministry. What keeps me going is knowing that I might encourage one of you to grow in your faith by “connecting” you to a book or other resource that might be just the tool God will use to speak to you.

Cindy’s interview allowed me to do some major soul-searching, and I feel rejuvenated in my writing here.

I hope you’ll visit her at Mountain Breeze Ministries and see what we talked about!




January 9, 2007

Brandy at The Building Brows tagged me for this meme. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done one of these. Here are five things people (probably) don’t know about me that I don’t mind sharing:

1. I played Mary Todd Lincoln in our 8th grade play, “The Blue and the Gray.” I wore my mom’s old prom dress with hoops, made by my grandmother. I was a nervous wreck practicing my speech — but when I got in front of the audience, it was mysteriously fun. I couldn’t see people’s faces because of the bright lights — and I felt … like I was … Mary Todd Lincoln. Weird.

2. I used to dream of going to the Olympics as a gymnast. Really dream. I came home from gymnastics practice every day with new bruises, covered in chalk from the bars. I loved having special friends who only knew me from the gym, separate from school. At school, I was painfully shy; at the gym, I was outgoing and fun. (It was like having my own private Terabithia, for those of you who get that.)

3. Our family owned a horse for three years named “The Bandit’s Delight.” My sister and I went riding every day after school at a stable a few miles from my house. (It’s now a subdivision). Bandit liked carrots and sugar cubes — and he’d tilt his head to the side and finish off a Coke, if we wanted to share with him. Those were very happy days for me and my sister. I still love the sweet smell of hay in a barn and the sound of rain on a tin roof.

4. I may or may not have a fake talent for clogging. Whenever I pretended to clog in college, it got all my dorm friends laughing. This led to my being nominated for the “Rodeo Queen” contest by my sorority. I actually had to go be interviewed for this role by the president of the agricultural fraternity, and the day of the rodeo, the five of us who were finalists were driven around the arena in the back of a pick-up truck. I wore a borrowed cowboy hat and boots. When they called my name, enough people whooped and hollered for me, so I received a silver tray engraved with my title, “Rodeo Queen.” My husband gets a kick out of calling me this.

5. I’ve eaten fugu before, the Japanese blowfish that, if prepared the wrong way, is so poisonous it can kill you. I ate some at a ryokan (Japanese hotel) with my homestay family on the island of Kyushu. It tasted good — and was very expensive. After we ate fugu, we played a rowdy card game of “Uno,” our favorite.

That’s my five. I’m tagging YOU because I don’t know who hasn’t done this yet. Thanks, Brandy!




January 5, 2007

I haven’t done one of these blog quizzes in a while, and I was curious about this one. The last time I was in New York was via the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, which is actually a cute movie about a girl working for a fashion magazine in NYC.

Meryl Streep’s role as power editor is amazing — and the theme is about a woman’s dilemma of whether to put her job or her personal life first. (If you’d like a quick laugh, click here to see a snooty-hooty clip from this film, where editor “Miranda” first meets journalist wanna-be “Andy.”)

All of the racing after cabs made me appreciate my simple life driving my own mom vehicle, no Prada required.


You Belong in the East Village


A little bit arty, a little bit punk – you seem to set trends that many people follow.
It’s likely that you’re an academic of sorts, even if it’s just on the weekends.
By: Heather Ivester in: Blogging,Travel | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)