Terrific and Terrifying Life Transitions

I’m the kind of person who is loyal to the end, often to the end of myself. I’m not the typical “Cruiseamatic.” I’ve gone to the same non-denom church for 30 years, lived in the same area almost my entire life, and would have been happy to work at my job as an Executive Director of a small Christian non-profit to the end of my days. But God had other plans…and that makes my dig-in-your-heels-until-the-end-of-time personality VERY uncomfortable.

So, here I am, picking up my proverbial pen again. Something that I had convinced myself that I had no time to do while immersed in the nonprofit world. I’ve let my writing persona crumble and, like Nehemiah, I’m looking around at the ruins of my blog, my novel and a few other projects of unfinished business with no idea where to start. Where does one even begin to repair broken dreams and things left to the destructive forces of life’s storms?

Oddly enough, I shouldn’t have been surprised at the upheaval in my life. Last year, without even asking, the Lord gave me the word “transition.” I can’t think of a more terrifying word to receive when one is pretty happy with every part of her life. As I sought the meaning of this command, I left no stone unturned. I continue to allow Him to change things that, at one time, I thought were non-negotiable. As each of these dark corners in my life reveal a change by His direction, I will gladly share with you. For now, I can only say that, like Bilbo when questioned where he was off to, “I’m going on an adventure!” The kind of adventure where I am trusting God to take me to a safe and prosperous place that I know not of. I understand that such a place is unavailable without setbacks, surprises and battles. I also know that the character, growth and relationships built along the way will make the whole process more than worth any struggle seen along the way.

From the Crazy Mixed Up Files of Two Kimberly Dawns


When I saw the invitation from my writing twin Kim Rempel (we are BOTH Kimberly Dawn’s!) I couldn’t resist the temptation to analyze my own writing process.  In the last year and a half, I have taken on a “part-time” job as an Executive Director of a Love INC affiliate in Tinley Park, Illinois and I am adjusting my life, and my writing, to it’s demands. This translates into hardly ever writing anything not work related. Recently, I decided that I missed blogging too much to let it go, but I was certainly surprised at how difficult it was to squeeze a few meaningful words onto the screen.

Bringing me to the subject at hand, how did I once blog 4-5 days a week with seemingly no effort at all?

Writing Process Step #1 – Write every day. No. Matter. What.

The truth is that  I have let this go.  I was so out of the habit of expressing myself in the written word that I am still priming the pump and only a rusty trickle drips from the spigot.

Writing process Step #2 – Read and comment on the kind of stuff you’d like to write.

For me this includes my daily devotions.  As I read scripture I keep a notebook next to me and journal my thoughts.  This gives me a plethora of ideas to work from.  I also love to read Ann Voskamp, Emily Wierenga and Shelly Miller.  When I read regularly, I write better.

Writing process Step #3 – Keep a log of experiences you’d like to share.

There is only one you, so writing about what you experience will be unique and inspiring to others! I keep a notebook especially for phrases that come to me or subject matters that are begging to be introduced to my world.

Writing process Step #4 – Believe that your voice and perspective matters.

This is closely connected with step #3, but I can not stress enough how unique your perspective is.  Sharing your take on life helps the world around you understand and accept new ideas and respect those with differing opinions.  It has been said that each person influences over 200 lives!  Writing can be your opportunity to influence others in a positive way.

Writing process Step #5 – Become immersed in your subject.

Whether I am writing my novel or a blog inspired by a scripture passage, the more time I give myself to meditate on it, the more revelation I find to add value to my own life.  Fresh revelation always leads to the passion necessary to communicate in a way that inspires others.

Writing process Step #6 – Be vulnerable.

Writing about things and people you care about can be very revealing, and may leave you feeling a little naked.  However, when readers can tell that you are truly bearing your heart, they  become endeared to you, and want to hear what you have to say.

Writing process Step #7 – Just do it!

Stop the excusiology.  If you have time to watch hours of Duck Dynasty and NCIS, you have time to write.  You can’t afford not to!  The world needs to hear your voice.

What I’m Working On

  • Blogging at Journey To Epiphany
  • Writing articles at Family Fire
  • Submitting a children’s picture book for publication
  • Writing an historical fiction novel
  • Writing and being chief editor of quarterly newsletter at work
  • Gathering notes for an upcoming devotional

How My Work Differs From Others

Finding a voice all of my own is really only finding a collection of voices who have spoken to me.  My collection includes, Madeleine L’Engle, Jan Karon, Richard Foster, and Ann Voskamp. Each of them have caused me to relook at myself and the world around me, beyond the surface and into the deep.

Why I Write Non-Fiction

I write non-fiction because it is quickest way to communicate ideas that influence.  However, I love writing poetry and fiction as well, in fact, I would say they come much easier to me.


Now for the real fun…


Next week my very best blogging friend Adela Crandell Durkee over at the Black Tortoise will be writing about her own experiences with the writing process.  You won’t want to miss this!

My Words Pass Away



I have gotten out of the habit of writing and therefore have gotten out of the habit of living a beautiful life.

Writing is the process whereby I squeeze Truth and Beauty from falsehood and ugly in my daily world.

Now there are overgrown weeds tangled over my trellis and the wisteria can not be seen.

How do I remove the ugly without damaging the beautiful?

My lenses have become scratchy and cracked and all that I see is distorted.

It’s a strange Picasso-world, full of jointed and pointy angles.

Until a different kaleidoscope appears. 

Scribbles in the sand that blow away in the wind reveal the finger of God on stone.

My words pass away, but His do not.





Jesus Came To My Door

It was the day before I left for the 4 day, 5 night Write To Publish writer’s conference. I hadn’t finished my fiction manuscript, and I wondered if by some miracle I could swing it. I wanted more than anything to become an influential voice for Christ through my writing. Experience had told me that my manuscript must be finished for a publisher to consider it. But, there was laundry to be done. The house needed attention…and I wanted to walk the dog because I knew that the kids would just let him out back while I was gone.

I completed the twenty minute chore of watering the plants, hoping beyond all reason that someone would remember to do that in my absence. Finally, I snapped the leash on the dog. He waddled down the street happy someone was paying attention to him. The neighbor boy who had been placed with foster parents and was only here on a visit stopped me. Oh, dear, I really don’t have time, I thought. I gave him a quick hug. “Hello Xandan!” I said, “It’s so good to see you! But I’m really in a hurry, can you come by another time?”

“I hope so,” he hesitated, then waved.

I hurried on. The mentally challenged woman ran up to me all child-like and said, “Can I pet your dog?”

“O, Ethyl, I really don’t have time today, I’m sorry.” The dog and I rushed on.

I wonder why it seems like everybody and everything wants my attention today, I wondered.

I continued down the block when Gina, the depressed alcoholic stopped me, “What are you doing for the weekend?” she asked, sober for a change.

“Oh, actually I have a really busy weekend, in fact, I really need to run. I’m sorry.”

Rrrrr…why does everyone NEED me today? I asked God. Don’t they know that I have things to do? I have an ENTIRE book to finish for goodness sake!

A breeze blew into my ear, and His voice whispered clear.
“They don’t need you, they need Me in you.”

And oh, how I wanted to run back to Xandan and ask him how his school year had been. I wanted to sit with Ethyl and let her pet the dog to her heart’s content, even if it meant her asking the same question fifty times. I wanted to ask Gina what she was doing for the weekend, and let her share her sorrows, but they were all gone. Suddenly the book seemed silly and vain, because, “Jesus came to my door…and I left Him out on the street.” Keith Green

Sharing with Jen today!

The Tale of the Cannibal Squirrel

Yesterday, I witnessed an amazing thing. I wish I had a camera so that you could see it. Buddy, my dog, was begging to go outside, and as it was a perfect sunny morning, I stepped out onto the deck with him. He started to bark at two squirrels crossing an electrical line behind our house. One of the squirrels scolded him profusely, the other laid flat on the wire, tail hanging limp. Buddy lost interest. I did not. The first squirrel began pacing away from and toward the still squirrel. After several minutes, I ran in to get my phone and prepared to call animal control, suspecting that something was wrong with the rodent who refused to move. When I came back they were both gone. My eyes followed the line to the tree where I knew the squirrels had their nest. The healthy squirrel was jumping from line to tree with the other squirrel of equal size in its mouth.

I had been praying when all of this happened. I was asking God for direction because I was preparing for the Write To Publish Conference and was feeling frightened and unprepared…stuck in the middle of many tasks not sure which direction to take. I found myself frozen, much like the flattened squirrel, tail hanging limp. After I received my new job, I felt uncertain about where this left my writing career and I didn’t know whether I should move on toward the goal, or forget the whole thing.

As I continued to research squirrel behavior for this post I found several disturbing articles. I thought that my squirrel was being friendly, and helping his fellow furry friend. What I found instead was horrific! The truth is that squirrels are cannibals, and the little beast was carrying the other squirrel to its demise. I thought that the horrible noises I had heard were the healthy squirrel crying for his injured companion. Instead, I found out that the screams were from the injured squirrel being eaten alive. I felt sick. I assumed that I was getting a beautiful revelation about how we need to help each other when one is too frightened to continue alone, and instead I had a tale of a cannibal squirrel.

But then, I thought about that paralyzed squirrel. It would not move forward. It would not fight for the ground that it had conquered. I think that I can tend to be like him, and when I let the enemy terrify me that way, I allow him to destroy me. The truth is that God has equipped us. He has equipped us to move forward. When we look back, we become like Lot’s wife and we are destroyed. Moving forward keeps us from being eaten alive by our fears and by our enemies.

The fact of the matter is: I haven’t finished either of my novels. I have very little published. But…Phil. 3:13 says,

I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…

What lies directly ahead for me?  The Write To Publish Conference.  So, I will spend the bulk of my days this next week preparing for what lies ahead.  What is that “one thing” that I need to focus on?

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus, the author.  Jesus is an author!  He knows what it is to have an incomplete work set before Him, because that incomplete work is me!  Jesus, the finisher.  He knows how to finish what He has started, and He will help me to do the same.  He finished for the joy that was set before Him.  I will finish for the same purpose, the joy of completion.  Because it is this joy that makes the suffering of the journey worth it.

I wonder what would have happened if the injured squirrel would have pressed forward to what was ahead instead of stopping dead in his tracks?  I am determined to keep moving, even if it is at a crawl.  I focus on moving forward with the tasks that I know He has placed in my hand, and because He is an author and a finisher, I can be too!



Penny, She Did Not Share Her Thoughts, But Her Life

It was a slice-of-pie piece of land; a wedge encased by two busy highways and a brand new tollway. For a long time, everything in me had been drawn to the house; wondering, yet waiting. When the expressway went up, I wondered if they’d tear it down. In fact, every time my family and I passed by the old farm, I would comment on it. I was certain that it was abandoned. There were never any cars in the driveway, or any lights on at night.

For years this went on, and yet it still stood, a snapshot of the past, surrounded by the present. Recently, while doing research for my historical fiction novel, I found an 1873 drawing  of the house. I decided to pay the home a visit. If I could spend time near the home, maybe I could feel the breath of my heroine coaxing me to finish her story.

As I pulled my car onto the gravel driveway, I entered another dimension; another century. Everything looked untouched. I headed to the back door for a peek through the window when I noticed that there were clothes flapping on a makeshift clothesline stretched out between two branches of a naked tree.  I stopped in my tracks, rethinking my assumption that the house had been abandoned. It was then that I noticed her. Way off in the distance, she was kneeling in a large vegetable garden, grey hair flying with the wind. I was startled, a little disappointed and more than a little intrigued. This was not what I had expected. I began walking in her direction, passing willow tree and vineyard.

“Hello?” I shouted over the ever increasing gale. Nothing.

“Hello?!” I tried a little louder. Still nothing.

“HELLO?!!” I was nearly upon her now, and still nothing. Was this an aberration?

“I must be losing it,” I told myself, “My love for history has taken over and I’ve gone somewhere in my mind that I might not be able to return from.” My heart pounded.

“HELLO?!!” I was now only a few feet away. She jumped.

“Oh, hello!” she stopped her planting and answered as though she’d been expecting me, but nonchalantly, as though I belonged there and as if we’d already spent hours talking and knew everything about each other. She went back to planting as if we were the kind of companions that continue on in comfortable silence.

“My name is Kim, and I’m writing an historical fiction novel about this area. Would you mind if I took a few pictures of your property?”

“That would be fine.”

“What is your name?” I inquired.

“Penny.” Now that I had her attention, I no longer needed to shout through the wind.

“I’m glad they didn’t tear this house down when they brought the expressway through,” I hoped to start a conversation with her, although she didn’t seem too keen on it, she was preoccupied getting those seeds in the ground.

“Oh, the historical society wouldn’t let them. This house is too important. It started as a log cabin in 1836, and they finished it the way it is now in 1840.  It took four years to finish.”

“I see.” I was taking a shot of the vineyard. “How long have you lived here?”

“My whole life. I inherited it from my father,” she answered.

I tried my best to engage her in conversation, but still her entire focus was on sowing those seeds.

I walked toward the house and snapped a couple of shots, and started toward my car again.  Looking back toward Penny to see if she was watching for a wave goodbye.  She wasn’t.  Instead she was kneeling on the rich black soil.  I wondered why that garden was so important to Penny.  She had to be in her eighties.  There wasn’t even a guarantee that she would enjoy the work of her labor.  Here I had come into her world as an opportunity for her to have someone listen to her past, something that many people her age seem to enjoy.  But Penny was more interested in the future, and what it would bring. Her diligence reminded my of an old D. L. Moody story:

The great evangelist D.L. Moody was asked, “What would you do today if you knew Jesus Christ was coming tomorrow?” His answer came, “I would plant a tree.”

How many of us make excuses not to plan for the future?  Not to dream big dreams?  In our minds, we are too young, too old, too weak, too fat, or too ordinary.  Penny didn’t let any of these excuses keep her from looking to the future.

How many of us say that we’re too tired or that something is too difficult?  Penny didn’t use that excuse.  Instead, she bent her eighty something year old body in half on the windiest day of the year and dug her wrinkled hands in black and crumbling Illinois soil.  Just being out of doors took determination that day, the wind wore me down like water on a stone in a wild and rushing river.

But Penny, she was untouched by the world, its climate, and its ways.  It may seem easier to go to the store and buy vegetables, but what do we miss when we don’t understand the parable of the sower?  We miss everything, according to Jesus. It may seem easier to dry clothes in a machine, but Penny’s clothes waved dry in a tree instead.  There was no machine to break down or replace, because there was always a rope and a tree.   What is simpler, really?  To have, or to have not?

Recently, I’ve taken up washing the dishes by hand.  My dishwasher wasn’t working properly and there were too many other things to attend to financially.  What freedom this has brought me!  I am no longer in bondage to a machine, the electric company for the use of the machine, and the repair man for the fixing of the machine.  This seems simpler to me.  In the Christian Classic Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster writes,

…refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.  Time-saving devices almost never save time..Most gadgets are built to break down and wear out and so complicate our lives rather than enhance them.

Finally, I realized that Penny has taught me more by her actions than she ever could by her words. She taught me with her life. She refuses to complicate her life with what the world deems necessary.  She works hard toward the future.

If someone were to come visit my slice-of-pie piece of land, what would they come away with?  Would they see someone hurried and panicked?  Someone who, although she seems to have many of the world’s most popular conveniences seems to be rushed and burdened both financially and in bondage to these same items?  Would they see someone who is easily distracted flitting from this project to the next without ever finishing any of them?

What would someone see if they were to visit your slice-of-pie piece of land?



I. Am. Expecting.

Artwork by Emily Wierenga

An expectant mother strokes her bulging belly,
Hopeful, wistful and dreaming of the future.
She dreams of the day when she will hold this creation of love.
And experience firsthand, his first words, first steps and a whole new world of firsts.

And though a portion of her life is spent,
she feeds off of the fact that this new life
growing inside her still has his whole life ahead.
A life she can help shape and mold into the man God wants him to be.

Anticipation builds along with a little fear.
There is so much to do to prepare, to get ready.
Books to read. Nursery painting to be done. Classes to attend.
…and then the thought of the birth. Oh my! Will she be able to do it?

This impossible feat of pushing a life from complete dependency
into the air of a world that insists that you learn to do for yourself.
This flesh splitting, every muscle contracting hard work of birth?
Fear creeps in….until….carrying the weight of this love child

seems too much to bear and pushes her toward anticipation again.

I. am. expecting.

Pregnant with ideas that love for my Savior has conceived.
and He has caused a miracle. A new life to grow inside of me.
I have prepared. Painted the nursery, in a way.
I’ve been afraid, will I be able to do this? Bring forth this life inside of me?

But then, the weight of carrying this idea around
has finally gotten to me, “When am I going to finish this book already?”
and the labor is hard.
Encouraging words and ice chips don’t help, and no amount of pushing seems to get the words out.
And I scream, sweat on my brow, “Get this baby OUT!”

It’s about to happen.
Because I really can’t hold it in anymore.

Pray for me friends, this is harder than I expected…

The artwork used for this post is done by my beautiful blogging friend Emily Wierenga. Her blog is incredible! You can check it out here. She is one of the reasons I love this new blogging world of mine. Her writing is rich and digs deep. Her paintings are vibrant and alive…there’s just nothing not to love about her!

Sharing with Michelle:

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

….finding heaven with Jen:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

Why I Want to Quit Blogging

Sometimes, I’ll read a post by one of my favorite bloggers: Ann, Leanne, Emily or Jen, and I’ll think…it’s useless. Why do I even try to pen down my thoughts and feelings? My words are so inadequate…their words are so unique. Why do I even try?

And then I remember the words to a very old Amy Grant song:

And all I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me.


God doesn’t want me to be someone else.
He wants me to be me.
If I wrote just like Ann Voskamp, one of us would be unnecessary…
I think it might be me!!

Don’t die a carbon copy, die an original, a masterpiece because you’ve allowed the Master to piece you together.  Let the master artist carve you into the beauty He has in mind.

Finding grace everyday with Ann:

I am forever grateful for
#49 – my internal alarm clock…it never fails me!

#50 – a husband who helps taxi the kids

#51 – cold dagger rain pelting the roof

#52 – a Community Center with a gym for $30 a year!

#53 – dirty dishes, because that means that we’ve eaten…

#54 – words…beautiful, ugly, healing, painful, wonderfully expressive words

#55 – I long for more joy and have found it in Eucharisteo..