Monthly Archives: September 2012

Reborn Dreamer

This is Jon Acuff. He was kind enough to pray for me while I was dying of laughter. I was laughing so hard they were going to have to carry me out on a stretcher. I kid you not.

Anyone who can make me laugh and cry in one sentence is seriously gifted. I tried to hold back (as I was sitting in the front row) but to no avail. I couldn’t help myself. I do not remember laughing and crying so much in a long time. My stomach still hurts days later from attending the Quitter Conference.

I believe the Lord wanted me at this conference. I had all the excuses in the book not to go, but yet and still, I felt the nudge of God telling me to go. The week leading up to the conference all hell broke loose. I can see why now, I was blessed beyond measure.

I have to be honest and admit that initially I did not have high expectations. I was even wondering if I was wasting my time and money by going. Also, leaving my family behind was definitely not my comfort zone. My boys were not feeling my leaving them.

As as matter of fact, my eldest son told me to never to do that again. He said next time I have to take him with me so he can make sure I am ok. I guess next time we’ll have to make it a family vacation.

Initially, I thought the Quitter Conference was just a lot of hype. But I was so wrong. This conference was unlike any other conference I have been to in my entire life. I am not exaggerating.

I can see why everyone makes a big deal about Jon Acuff. He is such an authentic, down to earth and great guy. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with him a couple of times at the conference.

Let’s just say this conference made me believe in my dreams again. Hello world, my name is Pilar and I am a reborn dreamer.

Besides hearing Jon Acuff, I also got to hear wonderful speakers such as Al Andrews, Matt Chambers, Jeff Goins and Alli Worthington. What an amazing line up.

Last but not least, the absolute treat of this conference was listening to Jon Acuff’s favorite band, Seryn. They are now my favorite band. I want everyone to know about Seryn because I had a spiritual experience listening to them. I have never felt so much joy listening to a band in my life.

I have been a lover of music my entire life. I am also a singer, so I have been exposed and my ear trained to know good music. This band is simply amazing. You must see them live to get the full effect. Each band member knows how to play several instruments extremely well. They are virtuosos.

Seryn’s lead singer Trenton Wheeler (isn’t that a cool name), absolutely poured himself out. He is an exceptionally talented artist. His voice is unique, his sense of rhythm impeccable and his gift of playing several instruments is out of this world.

I guarantee you if you see them play live, you will be mesmerized and left in a trance. Since hearing them, all I’ve been doing is talking about them. I am hoping they will come play in New York City.

Thanks to my dear Quitter friends, Jon Acuff and the Quitter Conference, I am a reborn dreamer. I have renewed hope to pursue my passions and dreams. I was able to reconnect with my deep love of music and singing by going to this conference. I am not too old and I haven’t missed the boat either. I am right where God wants me. So I am no longer dreading turning 46 in two weeks.

If there is one thing I took away from this conference is our dreams are not ours, but for others. I was deeply moved and inspired by this concept and it helped change my view of dreams.

In conclusion, I want to share a link of one of my favorite songs by Seryn. If you like their music, I encourage you to buy their latest CD on ITunes. You won’t be disappointed.

Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg


Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Bantam (October 1, 1990)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553347756
ISBN-13: 978-0553347753
Price: $17.00
Purchase: Amazon | BN


Natalie Goldberg, author of the bestselling  Writing Down The Bones, teaches a method  of writing that can take you beyond craft to the  true source of creative power: The mind that is  “raw, full of energy, alive and  hungry.”

Here is compassionate, practical, and often  humorous advice about how to find time to write,  how to discover your personal style, how to make  sentences come alive, and how to overcome  procrastination and writer’s block — including more than  thirty provocative “Try this” exercises to  get your pen moving.

And here also  is a larger vision of the writer’s task:  balancing daily responsibilities with a commitment to  writing; knowing when to take risks as a writer and a  human being; coming to terms with success and  failure and loss; and learning self-acceptance — both  in life and art.

Wild  Mind will change your way of writing. It  may also change your life.


I started reading a chapter a day of Wild Mind at the suggestion of Andi Cumbo. Andi is a friend and gifted writer I have come to respect and admire.

An incredible thing happened when I heeded Andi’s advice, I actually looked forward to getting up in the morning to read this book. For anyone who knows me, this is a major accomplishment, because I am not a morning person.

This morning, I read five chapters and finished Wild Mind. I was immersed in Natalie Goldberg’s writing. I love this woman. Her writing is rich and beautiful. She is really a gifted writer. Each chapter brought to life an analogy or personal reflection. I enjoyed gleaning the nuggets she shared throughout the book.

Now, I’m eager to start her first book called Writing Down The Bones.

What I also find interesting is years ago when I was counseling with a particular therapist. I believe it was in my early twenties, she asked me this question, “What do you enjoy doing?” I remember blurting out, “I want to be a writer.” I even surprised myself with that response. She recommended two books by Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down The Bones and Wild Mind.

I bought both books and they’ve sat on my bookshelf untouched for years.

I’ll be turning forty six in three weeks. Yep, I’m an old foagie. You are probably wondering (much like I am), what in the world happened? Why didn’t I become a writer?

Life happened. I don’t know. I guess deep down I didn’t think or believe I was a writer.

Until I met the brilliant writer Jeff Goins who taught me otherwise. I have no idea how it happened, but I walked into an amazing writing community on Twitter.

I started reading Jeff Goins blog, but it wasn’t until I read his book called You Are A Writer (which is free today only), I came to accept that I am a writer. I will always have Jeff Goins to thank for this. (If you haven’t read his book, I highly recommend it).

Jeff Goins will be coming out with another resource in a week, which I’ve been blessed to get a sneak peak, called Tribe Writers. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this online writing course. It’s going to be awesome.

I read another amazing book recently (which I also reviewed) called Let’s Write a Short Story! by Joe Bunting.  He is a deep, distinguished and gifted writer. His writing is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. He has a great website which is also an excellent resource for writers called The Write Practice.

I am thankful the Lord opened doors for me to meet these wonderful people who are great writers and read their amazing books. I have been blessed to learn and grow as a writer.

Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg is a great book which I highly recommend to all writers on any level. There is something for everyone in this book.

Natalie Goldberg lived in Brooklyn until she was six, when her family moved out to Farmingdale, Long Island, where her father owned the bar the Aero Tavern. From a young age, Goldberg was mad for books and reading, and especially loved Carson McCullers’s The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, which she read in ninth grade. She thinks that single book led her eventually to put pen to paper when she was twenty-four years old. She received a BA in English literature from George Washington University and an MA in humanities from St. John’s University.Goldberg has painted for as long as she has written, and her paintings can be seen in Living Color: A Writer Paints Her World and Top of My Lungs: Poems and Paintings. They can also be viewed at the Ernesto Mayans Gallery on Canyon Road in Sante Fe.A dedicated teacher, Goldberg has taught writing and literature for the last thirty-five years. She also leads national workshops and retreats, and her schedule can be accessed via her website: nataliegoldberg.comIn 2006, she completed with the filmmaker Mary Feidt a one-hour documentary, Tangled Up in Bob, about Bob Dylan’s childhood on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. The film can be obtained on Amazon or the website has been a serious Zen practitioner since 1974 and studied with Katagiri Roshi from 1978 to 1984.

The Extraordinary Vessel

I do not know about you, but I feel run over. Like a Mack truck hit me going 90 miles an hour. Not physically, but spiritually.

Sometimes, when God is working new things into us, He has to work the old stuff out of us. This process is uncomfortable and often stressful.

You are not alone if you feel this way. As servants, we are vessels to be filled and emptied.

Over and over and over.

No one said this life following Christ would be easy. In fact, Jesus said we would have trouble in this life. The good news, no, the great news is He overcame the world and since we are constantly being changed into His image, we can develop the skills we need to overcome too!

We can go from “glory to glory”.

When you face a struggle or a trial remember this.

  •  You are not alone. (God will never leave you or forsake you)
  • Help is on the way. (He is help in this very present trouble)
  • When you have done all you can do, stand. (If you look to your left and right, I bet God has brought someone to stand with you!)

Struggles in life will come. Some may be physical, some financial, lots of them spiritual, but in every struggle there is a promise.

He has you in His hands, and nothing: not height, not depth, not any creature, no man, no woman, no boss, no debt collector, no doctor, no death, NOTHING can separate you from His Love.

The work of growing, of pressing through until you have victory may be hard, but it will be worth it.

Here is a story to drive it home:

A young woman, who was afraid of her garage because she did not like spiders and hated the smell of dust, avoided her garage as much as possible and often put off washing her laundry because the washer and dryer were in there.

One day a man came by and said “If you clean out your garage and get it ready, I will fill it with your dream car.”
She doubted at first, but she saw he was going to her neighbors and offering the same deal to them. Soon she saw Bentleys and Porches lining her street.

So she began the work.

It was hard. It got hot. She was itchy. Spiders crawled on her. She shook with revulsion, but she pushed through.

She found things in there that she wanted to hang onto, but knew she needed to trash. Soon, everything that was garbage was on the curb. The inside was clean and organized.

Sure enough, the man showed up with a brand new car. It was full of all the bells, and whistles. If there were a better car for her, it had not been made yet. This man had fulfilled his promise.

Now, you are the girl, the garage is your heart and the “man” is God. He is waiting to give you your dream. You just need to press through and get on with obeying Him. He has a reward far greater than you can ask or even think.

The struggles you face may not be from the enemy. They may be God trying to turn the ordinary vessel into an extraordinary vessel!

Join the discussion:

Do you have a favorite scripture that helps you face difficult times? Share it below.

When a Woman You Love Was Abused

by Dawn Scott Jones

Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825429757
ISBN-13: 978-0825429750
Price: $12.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD






Your wife hurts because someone sexually molested her; you hurt because you love her and sense her heartache. How can you help?

In When a Woman You Love Was Abused, author, pastor, and survivor Dawn Scott Jones candidly shares from her own abuse experience to help you understand the thoughts and fears that hold your wife captive, the stages of her healing process, and what you can do to play an active role in helping your wife thrive despite her past abuse.

The journey is difficult. It’s maddening. It’s exhausting. And it’s arduous. But you’ll find reward and fulfillment as you experience the beautiful transformation together.


When a Woman You Love Was Abused was a tough book for me to read.

However, I am glad Dawn Scott Jones wrote this book. There aren’t many books written on the subject of helping the spouses of abuse survivors.

The only other book I have read on this subject was The Haunted Marriage by Clark E. Barshinger, Ph.D., Lojan E. LaRowe, Ph.D. and Andres T. Tapia.

I found When A Woman You Love Was Abused to be a more comprehensive guide to understand and help spouses as they undergo the healing process/recovery.

I must write a disclaimer, however, to warn women or men who are survivors. Depending on where you are at in your recovery, I would use discretion and exercise caution in reading this book. There is graphic details which could trigger and/or upset you.

Dawn Scott Jones is a survivor and does a great job in breaking down the sequence of healing throughout the various chapters in this book.

There are three parts:

Part 1. Understanding the Survivor

Part 2. Understanding the Healing Process

Part 3. How You (the Spouse) Can Help

I found each part and chapter to be extremely helpful and full of good information to help inform and guide spouses of abuse survivors.

I highly recommend this book to husband’s who are married to survivors. This book will help husband’s understand what their wives are going through and offer helpful suggestions.

In conclusion, I want to thank Litfuse Publicity for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Dawn Scott Jones is a survivor who has been sharing her testimony for more than twenty years. She is an ordained minister with the Assembles of God, is the creator of numerous audio teaching products, and has served in a variety of leadership and ministry roles.

Find out more about Dawn Scott Jones at

Guest Post: The Five P’s: What It Takes To Be A Writer

Today I have the pleasure of guest posting for Godly Writers.  I wrote a post to encourage writers, “The Five P’s: What It Takes To Be A Writer.”

Practice, Persistence, Perseverance, Patience and Prayer.

To read more, please visit Godly Writer’s.


Guest Post: Life is NOT About You

I have the privilege and honor in guest posting for Teri Johnson’s “Keeping It Personal” blog today. She is an amazing encourager, writer and woman of God.

Life is not about you.” – Jeff Goins

This quote became my favorite after reading Wrecked by Jeff Goins.

When I read this quote, it brought me back to a time when I was on the mission field in Guatemala. This was my very first short-term missions trip.  I lived in the city all my life and never served on the mission field before. So, I had no idea what to expect or what it would be like.  However, I learned quickly…

…it wasn’t about me.

To read the rest of this post, please click here.




Yesterday I was griping and complaining.

Poor ole me had to stand on a long line at Port Authority. I was annoyed because I had left early from work to get home and do laundry. I was beside myself because “my” plan wasn’t working out.

While I was waiting for the line to move, I started scanning through Facebook. I came across a status update regarding someone in another country who works seven days from 8:30am until 8:00pm for only $3.00 a week. I was immediately convicted. 

Here I was complaining, but I have so much to be grateful for. 

Courtesy of Creative Commons

This morning I started thinking about how big God is. I had this moment at rush hour where I saw humans as little specks or ants. We don’t want to see ourselves as small. Our ego and pride gets in the way of allowing us to see our true state.

We think we are bigger and mightier than we are. But we are not. We are frail, we are weak and we are powerless. 

I can see your grimace…  It hurts doesn’t it?

Yes, it hurts our flesh because we long to matter, to have significance and make a mark in this world. The fact that we don’t have as much control as we think, terrifies us.

The Apostle Paul says, “for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10)

What a contradiction from what the world tells us. The world tells us to be strong and not to show weakness. 

However, the truth is, when we surrender and reach the end of ourselves, is when God’s power is made manifest. (Romans 8:11)

Let me give you an example. While I was in physical therapy today. I started trying to help out my physical therapist. He starts laughing and says, “Hey, stop being so independent, you are messing things up here.”  I have a bad habit of meddling and trying to help, instead of allowing others to do their job.

Guess what? This is exactly what we do with the Holy Spirit. We try to help Him out. In the process of trying to help Him out, we mess things up. We get in the way of allowing Him to do what He does best.

Today I am grateful for Jesus, all His blessings and provisions. 

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.  

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you.” (Philippians 2:13-15)

In conclusion, I am remembering and praying for all the families today.

What are you grateful for?

Book Review: The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher:  W. W. Norton & Company (September 17, 2012)
Language:  English
Price: $23.95
Purchase: Amazon | B&N








On a small snow-covered island—so tiny that it can’t be found on any map—lives twelve-year-old Minou, her philosopher Papa (a descendent of Descartes), Boxman the magician, and a clever dog called No-Name. A year earlier Minou’s mother left the house wearing her best shoes and carrying a large black umbrella. She never returned.

One morning Minou finds a dead boy washed up on the beach. Her father decides to lay him in the room that once belonged to her mother. Can her mother’s disappearance be explained by the boy? Will Boxman be able to help find her? Minou, unwilling to accept her mother’s death, attempts to find the truth through Descartes’ philosophy. Over the course of her investigation Minou will discover the truth about loss and love, a truth that The Vanishing Act conveys in a voice that is uniquely enchanting.


The Vanishing Act is a well written and captivating story with mixture of fantasy and philosophy. This story is like a beautiful painting whose brush strokes are poetic and descriptive.

The central theme is about a twelve year old girl named Minou and the disappearance of  her mother. One day her mother puts on her best shoes, takes her big black umbrella and walks out the house never to be seen again.

Everyone thinks she is dead, except for Minou. She does not believe her mother is dead, but will return one day. She keeps a journal, building a case with the reasons why she believes her mother is still alive.

While Minou was walking on the beach, she comes across the body of a dead boy. She runs to tell her father. Her father comes and carries the dead boy to their home. He decides to put the dead boy on the bed in Minou’s mother’s blue room until the ship arrives in three days. In the interim, he opens the window to make sure the boy’s body remains frozen.

Minou’s father is a philosopher from the descendant of Descartes searching for the absolute truth. Both Minou and her father struggle to find answers and figure out what happened.

Her father believes the key to finding the absolute truth is somehow connected to the dead boy’s body. He thinks he will get the answer (as does Minou) by sitting with him for three days until the ship arrives.

Minou and her father live on a small, remote island surrounded by the ocean. I get the impression the island is in the middle of nowhere. The only people living on this isolated island is Minou, her papa, a Priest, Boxman the magician and his dog, No Name.

You never quite know where any of them come from (except for Minou) and/or how they wound up on the island.

However, there is mystery surrounding Minou’s mother’s arrival to the island as well as her departure.

Minou’s mother disappears the following day after performing in Boxman’s magic show, called “The Vanishing Act“.

The only item found was one of the shoes she wore the day she left.

There is an underlying melancholy theme throughout the book. Between Minou’s complex and troubled father, who was traumatized by a war. The disappearance of her free spirited, artistic mother with a troubled past. The pretzel making Priest and his inability to sleep in the dark. The mysterious Boxman the magician and his lost love named Cosmina.

The Vanishing Act keeps you guessing and coming back for more.

I enjoyed reading The Vanishing Act and recommend this thoughtful novel to everyone.

In conclusion, I want to personally thank Erin Sinesky Lovett from W.W. Norton & Company for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to read and review.

Mette Jakobsen was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964 but now lives in Newtown, Sydney. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and a BA in philosophy. In 2004 she graduated from NIDA’s Playwrights Studio and several of her plays have been broadcast on ABC national radio. The Vanishing Act is her first novel.