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

Friday, September 9, 2011

Packing (Flannel) Security

Me and my "glang-glang" (aka flannel blankie)...
Fact: I love flannel a little more than the average person. Seriously, I should probably marry a lumberjack. And teach Sunday School. Except, wait, do Sunday School teachers still use flannel boards?

A few years agoin yet another discussion about why flannel sheets warm my heartthe source of my flannel-love finally occurred to me. When I was young, like most kids, I had a blanket. Unlike most kids, I called my blanket my “glang-glang.” Why? I don’t know. I like to think my creativity was making an early appearance.

But the point is this: my blanket was flannel or at least very flannel-like. And to this day, flannel still make me feel...secure. (Go ahead and laugh. So did my college poetry class when I wrote a sonnet about flannel.)

So when I travel to St. Louis for the upcoming 2011 ACFW Conference, rest assured, I will be bringing my own pillow…in a flannel pillowcase.

The ACFW Conferenceor any conferencecan feel intimidating. The temptation to compare ourselves to others is overwhelming. Thoughts about what will or won't happen during the conference can be, if we allow them, prickly and pressuring.

That’s why I think it’s good to pack a little slice of security when we head off to conferences. For me, sure, that means my flannel pillow and of course, my beloved Diet Coke with Lime. But also, something else: the security I find in knowingdeep down and without a doubtthat God is in control.

It’s that knowing, that security, which scratches out the pressure of conferencing or any writing pursuit. And in its place…joy.

Just yesterday I started reading Philippians. My Bible includes an introduction to each book and in the intro to Philippians, I read this: “Joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love and work in our livesthat he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.”

I don’t plan to be simply happy at ACFW. I don’t plan to be pressured either. 

Instead, I plan to experience joy…because I’m “packing” the ultimate security blanket: trust in God’s total control.

How about you? Whether you’re attending ACFW or any conference, or whether you’re writing at home, how do you hold on to security and joy in the midst of pressures?

Melissa Tagg


  1. That is true and so fun, Melissa. My oldest granddtr. loved the flannel baby blanket I made her to shreds--we still have some of them, can't part with them quite yet. Rest well on that flannel-wrapped pillow & what it represents!

  2. Sonnet to flannel...LOVE

    One of my Little Darlings called her blanket a "mankie," so I totally get glang glang.

    For our 15th anniversary, Hubby bought me the LOVE bear from the USPS because our relationship was long distance while we dated. In the days before email, we wrote letters. I have his letters in my cedar chest (that he built) tied with a ribbon. Anyway, when I travel, the LOVE bear goes with me, so I have a little piece of home with me.

    Security in God's plan and timing is warmer than any flannel or bear and it never wears out!

    Great post, Melissa!! Looking forward to seeing you.

  3. Fun post, Melissa!

    When I attend a conference, I don't really need to bring something from home as long as I know the people back home support me.

    Still, it means the world knowing ultimately my career rests in God's hands, not in an editor or agent appointment at ACFW.

    Confession: I had a mankie, too.

  4. Love this post, Melissa. You were (and still are) such a cutie-pie!

    The introduction in your Bible to Philippians is so on target. It took me a long time to understand that my joy does come from God's love and work in my life. For so long I believed I had do something to get it, even after I became a Christian. What a relief to finally understand I don't "do" anything. He already did. That's my security.

  5. You never cease to make me laugh and no, no Sunday schools do not use flannel anymore, they use power point! lol

    Have a great, joyful, flannel filled time at ACFW!

    And that is the cutest pick I ever did see. In the words of southern women everywhere. "Bless your little heart!" :)

  6. Dee, my blanket ended up all holey and basically in shreds too. I think I was about 7-ish when my parents finally took it away... :)

    Ahh, LJ, that's the sweetest gift from your husband - partially 'cause of the sentiment, but also because my dad is a letter carrier. So, the fact that your hubby supported the USPS makes me smile. :)

    Oh, Roxanne, I can't wait to see you at ACFW and hear all about newly-married life in Florida! I remember hearing about Steve at ACFW last year... :)

  7. Ahh, thanks, Pat! And, I love how you expressed this: "What a relief to finally understand I don't 'do' anything. He already did." An awesome truth.

    Oh, Jessica, I'm now suddenly disillusioned about Sunday School. Learning about Jonah and Noah and David can't be nearly as thrilling on PowerPoint as on flannel board. Nor as cheesy-slash-awesome!

    Hmm...maybe I should wear flannel at some point at ACFW...:)

  8. I am a blanket person. Not one special blanket--just a soft, warm blanket to cuddle with. So much so, that just about every Christmas, my husband gifts me another new blanket. :O)
    How do I find spiritual security? I have my favorite verses that I cling to, returning to time and time again. They are what I wrap around my heart in times of need.

  9. Oh yeah, I definitely love blankets, too, Beth...and good verses!

  10. My glang-glang is not something I have but rather something I do. For me, freedom is security so when life is forcing its way into my freedom, I go for a nice long ride in the country. Big skies, the wind at my back and open road up ahead. It centers me. Makes me feel I can do anything. So, don't be surprised if I take a ride during a conference! :-)

  11. If you suddenly disappear during ACFW, Reebs, we'll know you're out cruising the streets of St. Louis! :)

  12. Oh, this harkens me back to the good old days when you could really bring a blanket places without getting made fun of.

    I think I snuck mine on youth retreats until about 9th grade! My blanket was a set of pillowcases (not flannel, sadly, but great for hauling around all your best stuff in).

    My mom was tricky, she had one pillowcase at home and one at the cabin, and I NEVER could figure out how the one from home got to the cabin and was sitting on my bed every Friday night. Took me forever to realize there were TWO!

    For security now, spending that time at peace with God is huge. Just being with him and trusting that he has the best plans for me possible!

  13. Your mom is one smart mama, Amy! :) You're right, spending time with God and letting his peace "blanket" us is the best security ever!

  14. Melissa~ Your picture is so precious! I love that you called your blanket "glang glang." Your blanket was so nice you named it twice! (Something often said about the town I grew up in, Walla Walla.)

    I had a blanket as well, and I called it "Baby." I think I just shortened "baby blanket" and I kept it with me until all that remained was a tiny shred of fabric. I constantly ran the edges of it between my fingers for security, hence the shredding. Even now, at almost 43, when I am sleepy or agitated, I will run the edges of a 400+ thread count pillow case through my fingers for comfort. (Don't tell anyone, but I have been known to pack my favorite pillow case in addition to my favorite pillow!)

    Both my boys have special blankets, or "woobies" and even though they would both deny it, they will dig them out of their closets if they are feeling down. My 15 year old is almost 6 feet tall and weighs over 200 pounds but when he is sick, his woobie comes out. We definitely all need to feel secure and comforted.

    I don't get to go to ACFW this year which makes me sad. I am feeling the need to be comforted. Thank you, Melissa, for reminding me to find my comfort in the fact that God is in complete control...even when I don't like what He's doing.

    During the conference, I will hold on to security with my trusty pillowcase and my faith in God. I will try to find joy by focusing on my family and reading the book of Philippians. And eating a lot of carbohydrates! =)

  15. I'm sad you're not going to be at ACFW, Heidi...waaahhh...BUT...you are so right. There is true comfort to be found in God's control. You're where God wants you right now. And while it may not be where I want you :), he has a plan. I'll be praying his plan includes lots of peace during ACFW week for you, great writing time in the weeks and months ahead...and eventually a reunion with your Ponderer pals. :) Hugs!