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Where’s Marti? Spring-Summer 2016

Dear Friends, Every so often, I take a little time to post my upcoming speaking schedule. I’ve had an exceptionally busy start to 2016, with lots of writing and editing projects, but I haven’t traveled much to speak. That all ends next weekend, although even then, I won’t travel far. Here’s my speaking schedule for the next few months, with a few notes about the specific conference or venue and topics: April 9, 2016: Outreach Prayer workshop, Women’s Retreat, University of South Florida Baptist Collegiate Ministry, held at First Baptist Wahoo, Bushnell, Florida May 11-14, 2016: Colorado Christian Writers Conference, Estes Park, Colorado. I’ll teach an Early Bird Workshop called “The Genuine Article,” but my main role will be serving on the conference staff and ministering through the appointment desk. These are the dates of the actual conference, but my husband (who is also serving on staff) and I will be there May 9-17. June 23-July 11, 2016: Panama Mission Trip with Awe Star Ministries. I serve as Director of Prayer and Publication for this student mission-sending organization but have not traveled with them since 2011. I’ll serve on a 10-day team and then join a 35-day team for another few days. I anticipate serving the students and leadership, writing regular blog updates for both teams, and seeing how God chooses to use me in the cities, jungles, and mountains of Panama. July 17-21, 2016: Montrose Christian Writers Conference, Montrose, Pennsylvania: This is the first time I’ve taught at this respected conference. I’ll present workshops on “Ethics for the Christian Writer,” “Master the Memoir,” and “I Want 2 Write 4 Teens” as well as a morning keynote. August 3-6, 2016: Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference: Faculty assignments have not yet been made for this conference, but I’ll again serve the faculty and conferees via the appointment desk. I expect to be in Philadelphia August 1-9 to help with pre- and post-conference work. I can recommend any and all of these events, and all except the first are open to the public. I’d love to see you there, so please let me know if you plan to attend. Blessings and prayers for you as you look ahead to your upcoming schedule, too.   For His glory,...

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Do’s and Don’ts for Hospital Visits: Lessons from My Summer

In August, our son was involved in a serious accident. If you’ve never received that phone call or text—the one that tells you your child’s in trouble—please know I don’t recommend it. No matter how big your faith, your heart pounds, your mind races, and tears well in your eyes until you hear, “He should be OK.” Even with those words, I ran on pure adrenaline from about 6:15 in the morning until about twenty-three hours later, in which time I flew from Philadelphia (where I had just finished teaching at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference) to Los Angeles, rented a car, and drove two-plus hours to the hospital where my son lay in the CCU. I actually reached his side by 10:30 Pacific Time, but it took me a few more hours to calm down enough to doze in the chair beside his bed. In what we see as a miracle, our son spent only three days in CCU and was released from the hospital in another two. But during those days, I learned a few things about how to best minister to those in the hospital—and their families—that I thought I’d share here. These do’s and don’ts will change the way I minister to others, I know. Do let your friends know you’re praying for and thinking about them. Even if you can’t visit (as most of my friends couldn’t because of the distance), social media posts, texts, and emails mean a lot. With longer stays than ours, patients and families can sometimes feel neglected. Don’t forget them or the battles they face. Don’t expect them to respond. A hospital room is a surprisingly busy place. At first, the volume of “Is he OK?” texts and other messages overwhelmed me. Even when I stayed in a nearby home, I had to be at the hospital early to catch the doctor, and I never wanted to miss any detail of his recovery process. I communicated when I could and hoped for forgiveness when I didn’t or couldn’t. Do keep your visits short. The patient’s main work is recovery, and any caregivers are doing their best to aid in that work. You may not realize the patient has just returned from an exhausting procedure or needs a bathroom break. Give your words of encouragement and hope without settling in for a long stay. Don’t ask too many questions. Allow the patient or the family to share as they wish, but resist the urge to ask for too much explanation. Different people have different comfort levels, and medical or other questions often take time (and expert opinions) before answers are known. Do think about the caregiver. Andrew already had...

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Where’s Marti? Spring/Summer, 2015

Dear Friends, It’s been a while since I’ve posted a speaking schedule update. And although I don’t have a great number of items to add, I am serving on faculty at three fantastic writers’ conferences over the next three months and want to draw your attention to them. The first is the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, which takes place May 13 – 16, 2015 at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. I’ll help my friend and fellow author Ava Pennington run the appointment desk here along with teaching an Early Bird Workshop called “Rhino Skin: Why You Need It; How to Get It” and a new workshop on “Ethics for the Christian Writer.” I’ll also serve on a Saturday panel for Teens Write (this conference offers a wonderful one-day conference for teen writers, and I love connecting with them). In June, I won’t have to travel far to attend the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association’s conference in Orlando, Florida June 26 – 28 just before the opening of the International Christian Retail Show June 28 – July 1. For AWSA, I’ll help with the mentee orientation and also teach a mentee (new writer/speaker) class on “How to Get Published.” I look forward to this time of connecting with and learning from seasoned industry professionals as well as assisting others. Late July will find me traveling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference July 29 – August 1. Again, I’ll serve at the appointment desk alongside Ava, but I’m also excited about the opportunity to teach a continuing session called “Master the Memoir.” Over the past few years, I’ve grown in my love for both writing and teaching this genre, and I look forward to helping others learn to share their stories via the creative personal reflections memoir affords. Of course, I recommend any and all of these conferences; please check out the links for more information on each one, and watch for this Thursday’s post about the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, too. There is still time to register for each event, and I’d love see you at any or all. For His glory,  ...

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