The traditional fourth anniversary gift is fruit or flowers, and the modern gift is appliances. This vegan is always happy to eat more fruit and look at beautiful flowers. As for appliances, other than a Vitamix for my kitchen, I think I’m good…but then again those ads for the new Samsung Note7 are calling to me. Thank you to all who have visited this website and read my words, especially to those who have encouraged this writing journey I’m on. In four years, the over eighty posts I’ve written have received over 8,000 views. That’s humbling, encouraging, and motivating.

Looking through the analytics is also frustrating. The periods where I have consistently published new content, my followers (dare I call you fans?) have grown both on this blog and across my social media platform, confirming what all the experts teach. Then I suffer a health flare-up or migraine attack, and I get knocked off my game. It seems like I’m constantly starting over and rebooting. As it is, I’m lying in the dark, nursing yet another migraine, using voice recognition technology on my android Note5 to draft this. I am determined to be persistent, no matter how inconsistent, until I achieve my goals!

A friend and fellow board member of our local writers guild, knowing some of my health and writing challenges, sent me a lovely email this week. After assuring me my presence at the last meeting was missed and hoping I felt better, he went on to tell me about a challenge he is doing through He found it helpful and suggested I might, too. So I checked it out, realizing it might be a way to reinvigorate my blog. Instead of doing the seven-day challenge my friend mentioned, I backed up to the beginning and decided to attempt the thirty-day starter challenge. Thanks Rainer, Devotional Guy, I will pick up the gauntlet you gently and kindly threw down.

The assignment for the first day is to create an elevator pitch for the blog. I see the logic of this, and have created elevator pitches for each of my works-in-progress. However, this requires a bit more thought on my part since I write fiction. This is a personal blog. It’s purpose is to practice my craft and build a following who might want to read my novel if ever I complete it. I taught writing and literature pre-stroke, but that’s not my purpose now. There are so many already doing a fabulous job of that, and it’s no longer my first love.

What is the unifying thread to what I write about, both online and in my fiction, that could be made into an elevator pitch? So glad you asked! I spent hours mulling over that very question while cleaning the kitchen last night. (Small kitchen, but lots of unplanned mishaps equal lots of cleaning and thinking.)

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.

Flannery O’Connor

So let me think through this in writing… My tagline for the last four years has been “Unleashing the Next Chapter,” and I still like that, but it speaks to what I’m doing more than what I’m writing. When writing (and reading) fiction I am drawn to mystery. Whodunit and why and how? When writing non-fiction, I am drawn to those evils that are hidden and cause hurt, especially to those who can’t defend themselves. Human-trafficking, invisible illnesses, religious intolerance/persecution, illiteracy and inequality… these are the common themes running through my eighty-plus posts and my creative writing. Some pieces have been serious, some more light-hearted. I’ve also been able to share some of my activities, memories, and travels.

Now, how do I turn this into an elevator pitch? I guess, in thirty seconds or thirty words or less, this blog is about my writing experience and advocating for those unable to speak for themselves by shedding light on modern slavery, invisible illnesses, religious persecution and intolerance, and illiteracy. Evil thrives in the silent, secret dark. I want to be a noisy light in the darkness.

Since my teen years, I’ve attempted to filter my goals and actions through Micah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God? (ESV)

My hope and prayer for my life and my writing is to not only be just, but to work for justice for the oppressed, to be loving and kind to all I meet, and to be humble in all circumstances. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting closer.

Here’s to another year of writing, and to Unleashing the Next Chapter. Thanks again for your continued encouragement!