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, February 28, 2011

Taking a Chance, Reaping a Treasure!

In October 2009 I took a chance. I shoved back my fears and the million voices in my head that shouted repeatedly,"You've lost your marbles!" I boarded a red-eye from Orlando and, for the first time in my life, landed in Minnesota. That’s in the United States. Who knew?!

I pointed my rental car north in snow-turned-rain and set off on a new adventure. A short while later, I walked into the retreat center on the banks of the Mississippi River. Too early for the conference. Too late for a nap. I wandered over to the room where we’d be meeting soon. There I saw the one I’d come so far to meet in person.

With an ear-to-ear smile, Susan May Warren greeted me as if we were long lost friends. Indeed, our friendship that began online and on her Monday night chat had become a face-to-face encounter.

Others filed in and our journey began. I pulled out my prose and exposed it to the world. Or at least to a few strangers. Fellow writers, just like me.

In three all too short days, a bond formed between us. Today we are affectionately known as the Ponderers. Not one of us is alike. We are all sizes, ages, backgrounds and from every walk of life. We live in every area of the country… and in each other’s hearts.

We pray, laugh, grieve and celebrate together. We’ve written over 500 pages of online messages to each other. Good ones, funny ones, informative ones, sad ones.

My dear Ponderers have published, lost loved ones, suffered serious illness on foreign soil. We’ve changed jobs, won awards, moved across the country. The chance I took won me a priceless treasure. Precious friends. Comrades in arms.

Have doubts about writing? Hesitant about going to My Book Therapy Retreats? Yeah, I know the feeling. But why not take a chance on yourself, on your prose and your future? You, too, could receive a treasure that will last a lifetime! It’s wonderful to have friends who ponder!

Reba J. Hoffman


  1. As always, Reba, you speak such loving words of encouragement! I am looking forward to meeting all of you one day. I have learned so much from the Monday night chats. Praying you all have an awesome time and accomplish much!

  2. Reading this a second time (I always get a sneak preview of the posts in my official TEE capacity). And now I'm at the Deep Thinkers Retreat in Tampa with Reebs and some of the Ponderers and I'm making new friends. Relationships make the writing journey all the richer. The prayer, the encouraging word when you need it, the brainstorming--wow! If you could hear the women brainstorming each others' stories!!
    Forget the saying that writing is a lonely occupation--find community! Make community!

  3. Reading this while at this year's Deep Thinkers' retreat and within reach of some of the Ponderers you write about, I marvel at how our friendships, writing abilities and relationships with Him have deepened since that first retreat. So glad you are part of the smiling heart of it, Reebs. God bless you real good!

  4. Oh, Reba, you are our treasure. When I read your prayers, whether on emails that come to my inbox or on Chat, I see God's love flow out of you. It is so good to be with you here at Deep Thinkers!

  5. We're all gems that sparkle with God's light and spill out of His treasure chest. I'm so thankful for that fateful weekend in Minnesota.

  6. Oh, I'll never forget that first MBT retreat...such a happy memory. More memories being made at the Florida retreat right now. Yay. Incidentally, I'm writing this comment, Reba, when sitting right across from you! :)

  7. I am so thankful you took that chance...I took that chance...friendship followed. Today, a priceless relationship!