A few weeks ago, I had the honor of speaking and teaching at the BlueRidge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in Ridgecrest, North Carolina.  It was a beautiful experience and all of us learned and shared and laughed.  August 10th to the 13th, I’ll be teaching at another conference, The Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference.  It will be another fabulous  opportunity to spend time with people who are finding their voices, raising their standards and learning that they have a lot to offer the world.  The Philly conference also features some inspiring speakers who will focus our attention on the critical needs of our neighbors around the globe and how we can add to the voices of change.  It will be cause for all of us to grow.

Personally, I struggle with reading the daily paper because what goes on in the world is just too hard for me to take, just too heartbreaking.  I know that burying my head in the sand won’t change things, but the overwhelming influx of bad news doesn’t work for me either.  I’m doing my best to keep my light on and I hope you are too.  We have to speak up where and when we can and we have to trust that God is still in control.  That is where our strength and our assurance rests.  Nothing else can create a sense of peace for us.

I recently read an article by Martha Beck, (a regular contributor to Oprah magazine) who was discussing a similar topic.  She pointed out that one of our most powerful life strategies is to stubbornly hold on to the bright spots.  Sure, we can grow dim with every news report, suffer the angst and fear of others as we read one sad news item after the next.  We can worry about the world at large and find it so overwhelming that we can hardly see a reason to leave the house.  We can.  But none of that thinking serves us.  None of that thinking adds one positive bit of fuel to the fires of change.

We are light.  We have the gifts of joy and peace and the ability to bring some sense of balance to the world around us.  We can speak up when things are wrong, and we can stubbornly hold on to the things that are going right.  There’s no need to feel guilty because you have a smile on your face or because you feel good about the work you’re doing or the way your life is going.  Those things are meant to take you to your knees in gratitude to the One who provides for you and who is incredibly pleased to see you happy.  It wasn’t His plan for everything on earth to become a trap door to the human race, but it is His plan for us to know that we’re not here alone and that we are loved.  Nothing this planet can do will change that.

We’re each ambassadors of good will, of God’s grace, of His sunshine and it’s always a better day when we share that spirit with those around us.  If you want to speak up today, let go of those negative things and speak up about what is good. Speak up about all the amazing things God has done for you.  Speak up that you have an incredible family, a beautiful home and a healthy body.  You deserve those things and they serve you well.  Stay strong.  Soak in the goodness around you.  It’s there all the time.

If we stand together in love and goodness, we simply get stronger.