I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Monday, August 2, 2010

Pondering with Bestselling Author Susan May Warren

Bestselling author Susan May Warren joins us on the MBT Ponderers blog today. Susie also donated a complete set of her PJ Sugar series for our August giveaway. Leave comments during August for a chance to win the three-book series: Nothing But Trouble, Double Trouble, and the just released Licensed for Trouble.

Last weekend I drove 14 hours, spoke three times at a women's retreat, and hung out with my daughter. (The last being the best part of the weekend.)

I love driving because it gives me time to think. It's essential to authors' creativity to take what I call "white space" to think, to . . . well, ponder.

Pondering leads to story ideas. To problem solving. To deeper relationships with others and with God. To solving world problems.

My recent driving ponderings all started with me running out of time to buy coffee at my favorite stand:

Why do I always have to have a coffee whenever I leave town? Do I want to take something of my town with me?

Had I left my people enough to eat? Where would I eat this weekend? Oh, yeah--I'm going on a dinner cruise! Did I pack the dress I wanted to wear on the cruise? Yes, I did.
(But I ended up not wearing it.)

Why am I panicking? I have plenty of clothes for the weekend--probably too many. And even though my daughter and I are going shopping, I won't buy any shoes unless they absolutely follow me home.

Shoes. Hhmmmm. Which shoes should I wear to the RITA awards ceremony this weekend? I probably need a tan for the ceremony. But that's only going to happen if I lay out in the sun. But I'm working on a book and I can't see my computer screen when I sit outside.

(Next 5 miles.) Moan. Sigh. My schedule is too busy. What would my life look like if I wasn't so busy? What speed would I run at if I slowed down? My family might have to cut back financially, but maybe we'd enjoy more times together on the deck, just listening to the breeze. Listening to God.

I loved diving deeper into God's Word while preparing for this women's conference. Doing so quenched a thirst I didn't realize I had. My life, my family's life--the world--is unconsciously trying to quench their thirst for God. And them/me/us do things we normally wouldn't do.

Wait! That's exactly what the character in the book I'm writing is doing! Running from a thirst he doesn't even know he has. And his behavior is so, so destructive.

So, maybe I'll pray for my children, my family, my friends--asking God to quench our thirst by drawing us to the living water.

Wow, am I thirsty, having missed out on my coffee this morning . . . wait . . . is that a Caribou Coffee? I probably need a little reward for solving the world's problems . . .

What have you pondered lately? Solved any world problems?
Happy Ponderings, fellow Ponderers.

~Susie May


  1. Welcome, Susie!!!
    I don't ponder while I drive. I sing at the top of my lungs to chase away the nervousness. No, my passengers do not mind because if anyone's with me they usually insist on driving.
    Other than that, I can relate. :-)

  2. Thanks Susie! My family is four hours and three different directions from me so I get lots of time to ponder in the car. And Jenness, I don't sing-my Barney Fife voice bothers even me!

  3. Welcome fellow Ponderer, Susie! Thanks for the excellent advice, and for donating the Sugar Series...I can't believe it's over, sniff. (GREAT stuff, everyone!) I will ponder today, maybe as I walk the dog, since I'm working from home.

    P.S. I've ridden with Jenness. She's an excellent driver, for the record. (But next time I go visit her, I will be the one driving, wink!)

  4. Yay, Susie - the initial inspiration for the Ponderers! And I'm so with you...some of my best pondering happens in the car. I don't know, there's just something about cornfields...But I have to be intentional about the musing - which means turning off Coldplay or Needtobreathe (my music staples) and ignoring the stares of other drivers who wonder why a driver of a passenger-less car is talking to herself...

    Thanks for donating the PJ books. Ahhh, I loved Licensed!!!

  5. A great, big Texas howdy to Susie! Thanks for stopping by and for donating the books. I can promise everyone--you don't want to miss this prize! I've read them all except for Licensed, and I'm off this morning to purchase it!

    As far as pondering in the car, if I get to thinking too much about my characters, I sometimes have to pull over and write it down. But I'm with Melissa on turning down the music. I ponder best when other noise isn't drowning out my muse.

  6. I'm right there with you Suzie! I'm in the car 2 1/2 hours every day. I plot out many a scene on my drive to and from work!

    Thanks for your PJ Sugar donation! Whoever is the prize winner will surely be blessed! I didn't know one person could cause so much havoc! LOL

  7. I sure enjoyed your post, Susie (I am hoping it's okay to call you that, though I haven't yet met you)! I, too, must have my cuppa java before I head out of town. For me, it's a comfort thing. :) I like the concept of pondering in the car, but with two young children whose questions range from the light hearted, "Mom, why do bears hibernate?" to the contemplative, "Why do a man and a woman get married?" to hearing animal facts about critters I've never heard of, my mind is pretty near filled up when I drive around town. :) Though I confess to enjoying long drives (from one state to another), and find my mind pondering then. :) Lately, I've been pondering God's amazing love in my life and how I see His fingerprints in my every day. Thanks for sharing your post!!

  8. Hi Suz and gang!

    Oh, driving is the best place to ponder (that is, if you don't have three screaming kids in the back seat, then it's time to sing silly songs really loud to distract them).

    When I am alone, though, my best story ideas (I guess that is negotiable) are conceived in the car. Hmmm... maybe I should make an excuse to go for a drive today.

    Driving is also a great time to pray!

  9. I love driving - I do it alot since we live in the woods. And yes, sometimes I just sing at the top of my lungs, too. Hey...people can't really see you if you're in the car capsule, right? ;) Thanks for letting me ponder with you all!

  10. I have to agree, that a lot can be accomplished in your mind, heart, and spirit while driving. I need to remind myself sometimes to just open my heart and listen to what God would want to share with me or who He would lay on my heart to pray for. Practically though, grocery list, birthday ideas, ect can happen on the way to work too.

  11. I do some of my best pondering in the car. I also like Marcie's idea of praying while driving...just keep your eyes open. :)

  12. Being the oldest in a family with five kids, and only having a permit, I don't get much quiet time in the car. And I'm very musically oriented, so if music's playing, you can pretty much forget anything else (unless I'm pondering the lyrics). :) On the other hand, my mom often asks me a question in the middle of a song, completely unaware that I was singing and now she needs to repeat her question... ;)

  13. Susie, I love that you live, and write, from your heart. May all of your drives be safe and reach amazing destinations, far beyond the literal geography. You give us so many good things to ponder in our hearts.

    Re. July prizewinner, how can we be advised of her mailing address? Thanks!

  14. Awesome Suz! Gave me something to ponder today.

  15. Susie, I LOVE seeing you here, especially since there would be no "here" without you! I am almost never without company in the car, and I am usually thinking about a million and ten things besides writing. I do think it is beneficial to change your scenery in order to boost creativity. I like to take a long bath in my big soaking tub. My children know not to bother me, and in the quiet I can hear the voices more clearly. And I love to listen to soundtrack music when I am writing...then I am not tempted to sing along, ha ha!