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, October 31, 2011

Storycrafters 1, 2 and 3: The Ride of My Life

2009 Storycrafters Retreat (Lisa Jordan is missing from this photo)

I'm still pondering how Storycrafters 2009 changed my life.

Susan May Warren asked attendees to pray before arriving for her first seminar of its kind. Boy, did our prayers get answered as those days inspired us. At the end, we exchanged contact information that spanned the country. To my shock, before inspiration faded, we found ourselves joined at the hip as we relentlessly fanned each others' writing sparks into a steady flame.

We walked into that seminar room room as strangers. We left and became so connected that our closeness inspired a blogging group named for Susie Warren's least favorite word: the Ponderers.

There have been two Storycrafters retreats since then. I didn't expect to return, but my home is only 21 miles from the annual location. When several of the original Ponderers returned, I couldn't stay away. After all, each new retreat means a chance to plot a new book, right? Right!

Nor was I attending this year. Instead, I was saving for the 2012 Deep Thinkers Retreat in Florida, as any right-minded Minnesotan would. But same song, second verse. I'm still only 21 miles away, as close as the proverbial moth to a flame -- except this flame is constructive, not destructive.

Let me share a story with you: At age 10, after hearing tales of big kids braving the terrifying 39th Street Hill, and hating to be afraid of anything, I inched my bike closer and closer to the brink of the town's steepest hill until ... one day I went so far that pumping my brakes wouldn't stop me. I began the most hair-raising ride of my life, nearly losing the outside edge of the big clover-leaf curve linking that street to the six-lane highway rolling north to Seattle, above the steep ravine where a dead man had been found months before. Had he sailed over the edge? My wobbly bike -- and wobbly me -- finally stopped on the shoulder. I walked the bike to a safer road.

This month was Storycrafters time once again. Once more I couldn't stay away. As a 2011 Genesis finalist now, I attended and plotted a new book that gelled only days before. I wouldn't dare return to this "hill" without the loving encouragement of the Ponderers group birthed two years ago at the inaugural Storycrafters. They've even changed my name from Delores (sorrow, pain) to Dee -- more like a bubbling brook.

How about you? Are you pondering and ready for amazing change? Who helps you accomplish change in your life?


  1. Dee, such a wonderful post! Love that you've been to ALL THREE SC retreats! I'm trying really hard not to be jealous. :) I'm blessed to have gone to two retreats with you!

    Let's see, who helps bring change about in my life? God first--oh, so gently. My DH and my kiddos also encourage change. My DH is so behind me on this writing journey I am humbled. Beth, our sweet friend, has also been a good proponent for change in my life. She inspires me. I have some other frieds who also help bring about change in my life.

  2. That retreat was a game-changer for me, too. Love, love, love the MBT retreats and I can't recommend them enough. Probably I should become an MBT retreat groupie... :)

    As for who helps me achieve change in my life...first of all, realizing the Holy Spirit is the true agent of change - that I don't have to make changes on my own - has been huge over the years. And then after that, absolutely my Mom and Dad and some very close friends...

  3. Thanks for yoour comments. Change is so good, if challenging. Can't imagine life w/o it--more like the Dead Sea that the rolling, living Mediterranean crashing into shores bringing treasure. And I appreciate the writing friends God gives us on this journey to laugh & pray w/ us, challenge, affirm, encourage. God bless the projects of our hands today and through Nanowrimo, & beyond . . .

  4. Storycrafters 2009: Changed my writing and my life in amazing ways. I wouldn't have landed a book contract without the input of Susie May Warren, Rachel Hauck and the prayers of the Ponderers.
    The relationships I have with other writers make all the difference!

  5. I love this post! And I'm so green with envy that you've been to all 3 of the Story Crafter's retreats!! I've not gotten to even one! (Sorry Tee, but it's the end of the month and I haven't used my quota of !!)

    But I have gone to DT twice and Susie and Rachel and DT have changed my writing life. Add the Ponderers and my critique group and the Sorority Sisters...I've never been richer in my life.

  6. StoryCrafters... 2009? Seriously? It seems like yesterday. What a lifetime friendship we all share.
    The bike thing? I can totally relate! :-)

  7. Just literally treated myself to a 1 hr. bike ride/walk to a lake I haven't managed for 2 years--made the extra push as the season is changing, temperatures dropping, had to get it in. Now, to do the same w/ my/our writing goals . . .

  8. I am so proud of the way you've progressed in your writing the past three years, Dee! And I look for your smiling face every year!!! XO! Suz

  9. Wow--thanks so much!

  10. I'm a day late in posting due to revisions, but Storycrafters 2009 changed my life for the better! With God, my family and my friends, I'm covered in prayers and support.