Higher Learning

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! As I’m writing this, a squirrel is staring at me. I seem to be an object of great interest. This means the squirrels have gleaned what they like from the birdfeeder, leaving only what they don’t like. So, they sent this one to place an order for a refill. 🙂

We’re never too old to learn new things. In fact, it’s good for our mental stability to continue to pursue knowledge and build ourselves up. Today, I’d like to share a few things that may help “feed” and fortify you for the days ahead.

Just like you need to strengthen your core physically with exercise, you also need to strengthen your core spiritually. — Anne Graham Lotz

Number one on my list is the upcoming Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. We had to cancel the in-person conference usually held in beautiful Elizabethtown, Kentucky. It is now available—in its full length—as an online conference. Yes, that is the right price! Only $20.20, and if you can’t watch it live, you’ll have access to the conference later.

You’ll find all the information you need right here: Write the Vision 2020

Please note that there is also a Teen Track available (taught by my friend Crystal Caudill):

So You Want to Be An Author? A Workshop for the Next Generation | Fiction​

This 3-hour interactive workshop geared for teenagers will introduce the basics of writing for the publishing world. In the first session, participants will learn about guidelines for genres, common terminology, and the three rules which must never be broken. During the second session, participants will examine the three-act structure and develop a loose three-act outline. Participants will leave with a handful of resources to help them grow and the tools necessary to write a story fit for publishing.

Do you like devotionals? Here are two brand new good ones, written by friends of mine—

Glimpses of God – a summer devotional for women, by Shirley Crowder & Harriet Michael

Creator God made the world in which we live. He placed the moon and stars in the sky, the rivers and oceans on the earth. He also created seasons throughout the year. Each season is defined by specific features and attributes that are common.

As Christ-followers we experience spiritual seasons. Though these seasons do not come in order like seasons in nature, each spiritual season we experience is defined by certain features also.

This devotional is focused on summer—both calendar and spiritual. Our spiritual summer is a time of growth, hard work, and relaxation as we nurture and care for the new things that were planted in our spiritual spring and allow them to ripen or mature.

Adventures in Fatherhood – A Devotional, by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb

Adventure along with two dads in a devotional journey full of wisdom and warning.

Being a great father is not for the weak of heart! It’s an adventure every step of the way. Whether you’re fixing boo-boos and changing diapers, or coaching soccer and carpooling teenagers, you’ll find spiritual insight and practical advice in this devotional by Carlton Hughes and Holland Webb. The authors blend personal experiences with humor and spiritual application to encourage you, dad, to do your best for God and for your family.

Ellie Claire’s devotionals offer short inspirational readings, paired with inspiring quotes and Scripture verses to encourage your heart.

See you next week for another chapter of my family history!

2020 Vision

Hello, Thursday Morning! It’s day sixteen of 2020. In our part of the country, it’s either raining or rain is on the way, according to the weather “seers.” Here, we’re still waiting for winter.

If you have 20-20 vision, your sight is perfect. You can see far into the distance, and read without cheaters. What a blessing! But, how well can you see into the future?

Often, our hindsight is much clearer than our foresight. What have I learned from the mistakes I made last year? Have I been able to overcome those mistakes, forgive myself and move forward?

OK, Google. Where to now?

Course correction is easy when I’m driving. I can pull over, figure out my route, and then turn around and head back if I need to. Sometimes, my phone’s GPS will tell me to “proceed to the route”. What does that mean exactly? I don’t know about you, but when that voice tells me to “proceed north” on a street, I have to pause. Which way is north?

And what about those areas of our country where phone service is interrupted? Suddenly, I’m thrown on the mercy of my sense of direction and I have to figure things out on my own. That’s when planning ahead is the most important. I know there will be times like that, so I should either download the directions and save the map on my phone or print it out and have a backup plan. Notice I said, “I should…” I don’t always do that.

In life, we need to have some form of advance planning and preparation. There will be route changes along the way. So, how can we be prepared for what life sends us?

Obedience matters. Prayer matters. Though we can’t see the future, He can.

Prayer positions us. It is our spiritual “GPS”.

Prayer is not just being religious. It’s not legalism. It’s a conversation with someone who loves you more than you can fathom.

Prayer is 20-20 vision.

January is a reset-month. It’s the dawn of a new year. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Yes, that kind of renewal. A seed falls into the ground and dies, and out of that old last year seed, life renews.

We get a fresh start.

What will you do with your fresh new year?


DON’T MISS THIS! If you’re a writer living in or near Kentucky, make plans now to attend the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference in Elizabethtown, Kentucky (early-bird pricing ends March 1!). Bob Hostetler is our keynote speaker for Write the Vision 2020, June 18-20, 2020.

After the Conference, Writers

Hello, Thursday Morning!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. I promised an update on the writers conference, so here it is–

I’m basking in the glow of another successful Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. Most of us agreed, this was the best one yet.

I had loads of fun and met so many new writers, visited with old friends, and made important connections.  We had a lot of fun moments, like this one:My friends and fellow writers, Shirley Crowder (left) and Harriet Michael (right), like to take an annual photo, and we have yet to accomplish this without being photo-bombed by an illusive introvert. Ha ha! As you can probably guess, our friend, Carlton Hughes is anything but an introvert, and we love when he pops by.

Hello from the Writers Conference

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday morning friends!  This is a big day for me. I serve as treasurer on the board of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC). All year long, we pray and plan. Today, it begins!

Welcome to Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Elizabethtown is situated sort of in the middle of Kentucky. It’s a major hub, with several parkways and I-65 running through it, which makes it highly accessible. And, it’s a lovely small town with a big heart and friendly residents; a great place to visit. Some of you parents out there may have spent time in the town’s sports park with your baseball and/or soccer players.

KCWC is welcoming a stellar crew of writers, publishers, editors, and agents. From keynote speaker, H. Michael Brewer, to the well-known and loved blogger, marketing-media expert and writer, Edie Melson. Gregg & Hallee Bridgeman, Michele Chynoweth, Tracy Crump, Harriet Michael, and Carlton Hughes. Yes, I am name-dropping! As well, we have a healthy list of others here.

There’s still time, if you’re close enough to make the trip. Come for a day–either Friday or Saturday, or sign in on Friday and return on Saturday to take full advantage of the conference. We offer reasonable prices and wonderful meals, but most of all, great fellowship hobnobbing with other writers.

One of the greatest things about a “small” conference is accessibility. We, as individual writers, have time and opportunity to meet successful, published writers and entrepreneurs. We can enjoy a meal with them, talk to them at their book table, or while seated next to them (hopefully not talking during the keynote). They will inspire you to keep hitting those keys and writing those stories. They’ll impart knowledge and help writers learn how to perfect their work and sell stories.

Then, you can sit down with one of our agents or publishers and find out if you have what it takes to make a success out of writing.

I’ve made some wonderful friends over the years, attending this conference. That’s really what it’s all about. Networking and friendships will help build your confidence as an inspirational writer.

So, here I am, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, ready to go and make new friends. I hope we’ve set the scene for a wonderful, inspirational time of learning and fun.

Speaking of fun, I’m teaching a class! I didn’t mean to, hadn’t planned on it, but a last-minute cancellation left a session without an instructor. This lady was kind enough to offer her materials, so I’m all set. And it just happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Humorous writing. “Make Me Laugh and Forget I’m Reading”.

I’ll write a followup article next week and let you know how it went. In the meantime, I hope to see some of you there!

Cuenca Countdown

Here in the Owens household, the “Cuenca Countdown” has begun. From the date of this posting June 28, 2016, we are at nineteen days.

At this moment, the plans are still a bit sketchy. I’m teaching a Novel Writing class. I’m speaking at several different functions and meetings. My part in some of these will be brief. Brief is good. Especially for one who has never worked with a translator. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Fiction panel KCWCThis past weekend, I sat on a fiction panel at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. That’s me in purple. I learned two things. How to be brief, and how to pass the microphone to someone with more experience. I’m a quick-study at these things.

It was a great honor to sit on the stage with some of my favorite people.

One thing I am really looking forward to while in Cuenca–spending time with friends who have given their life to missions. Among them–Bill McDonald, and Jeremy and Tiffany Riggs. I’m sure you’ll hear more about them later. I hope to stay current on my blogging. I will be posting to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, so you can find our updates there.

alpaca-984891_1280It won’t be all work and no play. There is a little sight-seeing sandwiched in between the engagements. Shopping in the marketplace, visiting ancient ruins,ecuador-1102787_1280sampling food and excellent coffees.

Oh, just a few of the things we’ll do. But most of all, I look forward to getting to know the people of Cuenca, enjoying the views, and learning about life at eight thousand feet above sea level. In a place where there are no mosquitoes. I so look forward to that!

In the meantime, I hope you’ll write these dates on your calendar and pray for our team while we’re in Ecuador. July 16 – July 26 Owens2Ecuador Mission Trip.

Bob & Betty Owens, Todd Owens, April Teeter

We are so thankful for all of the readers and special friends who are supporting us in this effort through prayers, thoughts, and donations. We pray all your time and gifts will be multiplied back to you abundantly.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.–2 Corinthians 9:8

The Owens to Ecuador Team

Stay tuned for more information about the mission next week!