Harnessing the Magic of “After-Writing”

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Joseph Bentz

I would like to declare a new stage of the writing process. I call it “after-writing.” Even though I never see it discussed in books or articles about writing, for me it has been a crucial stage in the writing of my books.

I teach writing in a variety of venues, from freshman courses at Azusa Pacific University to professional conferences like the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, where I will be leading a Morning Mentoring Clinic on writing nonfiction books this year. In textbooks, writing experts often identify and describe the various stages of the writing process as pre-writing, drafting, revision, editing, and proofreading. The “after-writing” stage that I am proposing is not represented by any of those steps. By overlooking it, writers may be losing an opportunity to harness much more of their creative energy.

creative child in afterglow of sunset Here is how after-writing works for me. I sit down for my scheduled daily writing session on the book I am working on. Let’s say I have three hours for that session. At the end of that time, I will have to set the book aside, move on to other things, and come back the next day to pick up where I left off. By the time the writing session is over, my ideas are usually flowing pretty well, I have an idea where I am headed next, and I look forward to getting back to it the following session.

As you may have experienced, what often happens the next day is that as I glance over what I wrote the day before, my sense of momentum that had felt so strong the previous day has now shut down. I often think, Now, where was I headed with this? What was I planning to write next? I can spend much of the current day’s writing time trying to reconstruct that mind-set of the previous day and re-enter that creative flow.

“After-writing” helps prevent that dilemma. Now, instead of merely stopping at the end of a writing session, I make sure to leave a little time—maybe ten or fifteen minutes—at the end of a session to jot down a note to myself about what I would have written next if I had been able to continue. This “after-writing” note is usually rough. I don’t worry about getting the wording just right or tracking down the documentation of a source or even writing in complete thoughts. What I’m after is a road map for the next day. I need notes that capture my thinking of that moment so that when I read them the next day, those thoughts will come alive inside me again, and I won’t have to waste time recreating my earlier mind-set. The notes might be so rough that they would make sense to no one but me, but I am the only one who will read them anyway.

“After-writing” has another benefit. I have noticed that when I am in my more formal writing stage, I am sometimes a little tense as I try to get the sentences and paragraphs just right. But once I enter the “after-writing” stage and the pressure is off, sometimes that unleashes a whole new burst of creativity. Even though I might have felt worn out from writing, I suddenly have a new gush of words that I can barely type fast enough to get on the screen. That second wind sometimes leads me to postpone my stopping time and keep going awhile longer.

I have discovered one final advantage of the after-writing stage. After many years as a writer, I noticed that once I have stopped writing for the day and my mind has let go of that disciplined way of thinking, I often have another rush of ideas about an hour later. I used to ignore that or even squelch it, thinking that I had already done my work for the day and should relax and return to it tomorrow. But now I prepare myself for that little “brainstorm” and take advantage of it by jotting down whatever comes during that time. Then I can go back to whatever else I was doing.

For me, writing a book includes many moments of joy, insight, and satisfaction, but it is also a long, hard slog. Good ideas are precious commodities in that process, and I want to do everything I can to capture the ones that show up. “After-writing” is one of the best techniques I have found to accomplish that.

Joseph Bentz has published four novels and five nonfiction books. His most recent book, Nothing Is Wasted, was published in 2016 by Beacon Hill Press. He is a blogger and currently at work on a book about passages of Scripture that have changed the world. He is a professor of English at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California, where he teaches courses in writing and American literature.

Joseph will be a nonfiction mentor and also presenting workshops at the Mount Hermon Writers Conference. Click here for more information.


Update from the Advancement Team!

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

Karen CristWe’d like you to meet Karen Crist, the newest member of the Mount Hermon Advancement Team.

Karen officially joined the team on December 13, filling a key position previously held for a decade by Debbie Franck, whose last day
was October 29.

Karen has an energetic, joyful personality and a deep love for the Lord, with the critical skills needed to step into her new position.

“The profound sense of gratitude came over me the first time I came on site to meet J.R.  God’s power was instantly felt as I pulled onto the property. I don’t even know how to describe the level of excitement I have meeting the valuable individuals who collectively work towards the mission of Lives Transformed at Mount Hermon.”
Next time you’re at Mount Hermon make sure to stop by and meet Karen, introduce yourself and welcome her to the team. We know you’re going to enjoy her!


One-One-One: 2016 was quite a year.

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Mike Romberger, CEO/President Mount Hermon

It was a Leap Year, Pokemon Go entered our existence, the Rio Olympics were a surprise success, and the Cubs won the World Series. No really, they did!

You never know what a year is  going to bring, and as we have now entered 2017 we aren’t sure of what all is ahead for us, but we are confident of Who goes before us, which gives us great hope as we forge ahead.

In the midst of all the craziness in our world that surrounds us we are enjoying year 111  (One-One-One) of Mount Hermon’s faithful existence— faithful to a faithful God, faithful to His Word, and faithful to depend upon His  transforming work in people’s lives.

One-One-One (111).  That’s a lot of years of God’s faithfulness in one place!

You are a key reason why God continues to place His faithful hand of blessing upon Mount Hermon. Your prayers, your encouragement, your generosity, your involvement are all used by God as He works in this place. Lives continue to be refreshed, renewed and transformed by the various ministries and locations under the umbrella known as Mount Hermon. This is God’s place, and He continues to work.

Thank you for your partnership. We are a team, and we couldn’t do this without you. 

 


Volunteers: Paul Schneider Redirected, not Retired

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By Kerry Phibbs, Associate Director of Advancement

One of our many joys is introducing you to some of the gracious volunteers who make such an impact in the ministry of Mount Hermon. They are unsung heroes that bless us beyond imagination. One such volunteer is Paul Schneider.

Paul and his wife Virginia’s connection with Mount Hermon began in 1972. A family from their church invited them to Family Camp. So they came with their three small children, and now, forty-four years later Mount Hermon is still an important part of their lives, three generations deep. They’ve experienced many years of family camps and conferences, concerts, and eventually giving back through volunteering.

At the end of 2005, Paul retired from the electrical construction industry in the Santa Clara Valley.  In 2006, he and Virginia began volunteering at Mount Hermon. They also volunteered on trips with Mobile Missionary Assistance Program (MMAP), but in 2008 they made the decision to stay closer to home and volunteer at Mount Hermon.  Eventually, they met Bob and Barbara Parmenter at church.  Bob was also a retired electrician and needed a place to use his experience and expertise, so they have been coming to Mount Hermon together since August 2011. Paul and Bob are a regular duo around here serving across the Santa Cruz property.

What Paul and Bob share is invaluable to this ministry as voiced by our facilities engineer, Dale Pollock. “Paul and Bob are a tremendous help to the maintenance crew. Mount Hermon has been without a certified electrician for many years now, and since then, these two have filled a big hole.  From rewiring cabins during a remodel, to troubleshooting electrical fixtures and fixing outdoor lighting, they continue to keep Mount Hermon energized.”

Volunteering isn’t their only gift. The Schneider’s bless us generously as long-time Mount Hermon Associates.

“Our support of Mount Hermon’s ministry is just a natural outgrowth of what we have received; support for us as a couple, a family, and individuals. As well as for our children and grandchildren. As we partner with Mount Hermon, we get to be a part of a greater ministry than we could do alone. For forty-four years we have seen this ministry grow and remain faithful to the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ, and we are so greatly blessed with our association with Mount Hermon.”

Paul continued, “As ‘redirected not retired,’ older folks, we know God is not through with us yet. For me, Mount Hermon has become an opportunity to give back from the experience I gained through all the years working in the electrical industry. It is a special blessing to be able to give my time and talent to a ministry that has blessed so many people, including our family, for so many decades.”

If you too would like to give to Mount Hermon through your time and talent, there are many areas of need and many ways to serve. To find out how, simply contact Michelle Marty at 831.430.1375 or volunteers@mounthermon.org and we thank you in advance.


Gwinn Lodge is Finished!

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By J.R. Loofbourrow, Vice President of Advancement

It is finished! After months of praying, weeks of careful preparation, and six days of non-stop work, we can now say that every room in Gwinn Lodge has been completely remodeled and is ready for your next visit!

Many of you have heard about our efforts to finish the remodel of Gwinn Lodge, a project we have been working on for several years. That dream became a reality the week after Thanksgiving when a crew of twenty workers came up from Southern California and made VERY quick work of the remaining eight rooms.

All week long we marveled at Mount Hermon’s version of an “extreme makeover,” one staff member even started crying! A crew member asked, “Why is that woman crying, is everything ok?” We explained, “Yes, she’s ok, she’s just really happy!”

Perhaps the best part of the whole project was watching the construction crew’s joy while working together. After long work days, the crew spent time playing basketball in the McAfee Fieldhouse, playing soccer, and eating ice cream together in the fountain—just as many of you have done while at Mount Hermon. Most of the crew spoke Spanish, which gave Andrew Summers the opportunity to be a communication lead and share with them in Spanish about the ministry of Mount Hermon and why the work they were doing was so important. You should have seen the smiles on their faces as they came to realize that this wasn’t just any construction job, they were a part of something much bigger!

The best part of all?  The entire crew that was here will be coming back to Mount Hermon in August to attend Hispanic Family Camp with their families! Just imagine what God will do through that! We are so grateful for their hard work and are already dreaming about the
next big project.

We want to extend a special THANK YOU to each of you who’ve prayed and given financially to this project. We could not have done it without you!

As we plan the next renovation project, we need your help and ask you to prayerfully consider joining us as a ministry partner through a financial gift. This is a unique opportunity where your gift will be leveraged for incredible impact restoring vital Mount Hermon lodge rooms while also sowing seeds of love, hope, and salvation to the crew who will do the work! Thank you so very much for your consideration.

If you have any questions about the project or would like to make a gift, please feel free to contact J.R., Kerry, or Andrew at 831.430.1244


The Williams: A Mount Hermon Couple

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Kerry Phibbs, Associate Director of Advancement

Dan and Linda Williams have blessed and impacted this ministry and our guests, day-in and day-out, since 1990.

Shortly after getting married in 1981, they joined Campus Crusade for Christ in San Bernardino. Dan served in the tech services department as the manager of the carpenters and painters. Linda worked in various departments until their first child was born in 1986.  After their second child was born, Linda was getting used to the idea of staying, but Dan sensed that they needed to seek God’s guidance for another direction, so they did.

They visited Mount Hermon for the first time, just after the 1989 earthquake. There were no jobs at the time, but five months later, the phone rang, and the rest is history.

Dan and Linda both serve in their sweet spots. They are so good at what they do! Dan is our maintenance manager, overseeing the maintenance team and keeping roads, water, and over 100 buildings up and running.

Dan was given some godly counsel from a Campus Crusade mentor many years ago, to learn from the most experienced men on the crew. He’s combined that advice, along with his natural ability, to build and develop and lead his team. He enjoys bringing together the different personalities, skills, and passions of the men on the maintenance crew to serve the Lord, the guests, and fellow staff here at Mount Hermon.

Linda’s love of the outdoors and her heart for inviting others into God’s creation led her to Mount Hermon’s Adventure/Recreation ministry. Whether it’s leading a canopy tour, doing team building, or being a guide on mountain bike rides, she enjoys the opportunity to see others challenged and overcome obstacles that open them up to see God in different ways. Her gift for coordinating projects involving multiple departments creates a win-win for everyone.

Outside of Mount Hermon, Linda loves adventuring on her bike and gardening. She enjoys feeding
and identifying birds—she’s a bit
of an ornithologist!

Dan enjoys remodeling their Mount Hermon home and also volunteers
with Santa Cruz County Search
and Rescue team.

They have four adult children: Rachel 30, Eric 28, Annie 26, and Jordan 18. All of the Williams’ kids have served on staff in some capacity. God has blessed Dan and Linda with two beautiful grandchildren, whom they love to visit.

What’s new on the horizon for Dan and Linda?

Linda is being trained as a bike mechanic so she can help maintain the bike fleet for our Adventure/Recreation program. She’s continuing to develop her coaching skills as a Redwood Canopy Tour trainer and mountain bike coach.

Dan is in the process of rebuilding parts of the maintenance crew, as several positions are available for hire.  They would appreciate your prayers for each of them in their professional roles, plus insight as they continue to learn the “art of parenting adult children.”

We are truly blessed to have Dan and Linda as a part of our Mount Hermon staff. They have generous hearts for this ministry and are also a long-time part of our Associates family!


My Favorite Place in the World!

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

By Tyler Kovacs, Guest Contributor

My Aunt and Uncle work full time at Mount Hermon and were always trying to get me and the rest of the Texas cousins to fly out for camp. The summer of 2005, my 8th-grade year, my parents relented and I went to Redwood camp with my brother and cousin.

I went to Ponderosa each of the next five summers and began to slowly get to know Jesus one week at a time over several years. Camp was my favorite place in the world as a student. The week I spent at Pondy was my Disneyland, Super Bowl, and Christmas all rolled together, only better! The campers and counselors were more genuine, loving, and free than anyone I had ever met. God used seemingly normal interactions with these people to bring me to Himself.

Andrew, my counselor for three summers, had the greatest influence on me. He saw me differently, he spoke to me differently, and I genuinely wanted to see the world the way he did. Through Andrew and other staff members, I experienced the love that the speakers at camp were always talking about. The summer before my sophomore year of high school a gospel message delivered in the forum cut me to the core, and I gave my life to Christ later that night on the rec field looking up at the stars.

I met Jesus as a camper, but it was as a summer staffer that I got to know Him deeply, wrestle with Him, rely on Him, and see Him change my heart week after week. Those years I needed my fellow counselors to sustain me more than I needed anyone ever in my life. There I met many of my closest friends and learned what having true brothers and sisters in Christ could do for my faith.

After camp, I never settled for shallow friendships ever again. Throughout my summer staff experience, God taught me about the power of vulnerability, humility, trust, love, and freedom.

My experiences at camp propelled me into youth ministry throughout college and helped me realize my passion and desire to work in full-time youth ministry. In the summer of 2015, my staff counselor from my first two summers at Redwood offered me my first full-time job at Canyon Creek Church. I accepted knowing that I wanted to spend my life providing support and direction to students while pointing them to Jesus.

Now that I am a full-time youth pastor; I love bringing my students to Ponderosa Lodge for summer camp and Fall Frenzies. Bringing students to camp is a surreal experience for me. Every tree and trail I see when I am at Mount Hermon ties to a memory of Jesus revealing Himself to me. Offering the same opportunity to the students I love, gives me chills. My camp experience has come full circle, and I am so thankful that God has woven my faith journey with the roots of those redwoods.


Meet Bruni Wald

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

Pictured left to right: Vera Neumann, Bruni Wald, Wolf Neumann

By Kerry Phibbs, Associate Director of Advancement

Sharing the gift of Mount Hermon with family and friends is a natural occurrence among those of us whose lives have been impacted here. Well, that is exactly how Brunhilda “Bruni” Wald learned of this safe-haven in the redwoods, from her friends, Wolf and Vera Neumann, long-time Associates, Redwood Society members and Mount Hermon champions.

Wolf shares how it came about–

“We met Bruni and her husband, Helmut at our church. When Helmut fell ill, she took care of his needs but eventually admitted him to a home where she visited him daily. We prayed with both of them and visited several times, which formed the friendship.

After his passing, we wondered how Bruni would manage all by herself. But God gave her the strength and necessary health. We simply include her into our ‘outings to Mount Hermon,’ – something all three of us look forward to and enjoy! For us Bruni is family! Seeing how much she enjoys the concerts and various activities has been a tremendous blessing to us. You just can’t out-give the Lord.”

Bruni first came to Mount Hermon in 2012 and soon after became an Associate, then part of the Redwood Society, and now she is a regular in these redwoods. She sent a note to me recently and I asked for permission to share a little with you.

“…My special love is Mount Hermon and I’m so thankful to Wolf and Vera for taking me along. The Lord is in Mount Hermon. For me, it’s a special place. I am thinking of you and praying for you. Love, B”

It’s people like Bruni, Wolf, Vera and you that make our Associates family so special. Thank You for standing alongside us on this journey as we see lives transformed at Mount Hermon.

Learn more about the Mount Hermon Associates! Contact:
Kerry Phibbs at 831.430.1237 or kerry.phibbs@mounthermon.org


John Wick: Chapter 2(2017)

Posted by & filed under Kindling.

John Wick: Chapter 2(2017)


Quality : HD
Title : John Wick: Chapter 2
Director : Chad Stahelski.
Writer :
Release : 2017-02-08
Language : English.
Runtime : 122 min.
Genre : Thriller, Action, Crime.

Synopsis :
Movie ‘John Wick: Chapter 2’ was released in February 8, 2017 in genre Thriller. Chad Stahelski was directed this movie and starring by Keanu Reeves. This movie tell story about John Wick is forced out of retirement by a former associate looking to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to aid him, Wick travels to Rome and does battle against some of the world’s most dangerous killers.

John Wick: Chapter 2(2017)


Conference Connections

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

people connectionAre you attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference for the first time? Returning after a long break? Perhaps you’ve attended before but are submitting to editors and agents for the first time. Conference Connections is for you!

Before the Conference

Download the First-Timer’s Packet, which is filled with helpful tips and information.

Look for our weekly Pre-Conference Preparation Tips on Facebook, starting the first week in February.

At the Conference

On Friday after lunch, be sure to attend the First-Timer’s Orientation, where you will receive valuable information on how to get the most out of this wonderful conference.

Keep an eye out for people who have hearts on their name tags. These conference veterans enjoy connecting with first-timers and those who feel like newbies. If you have a question, can’t decide which workshop to take, need help finding a room, are having a difficult day, or want to share exciting news, flag down one of these kind, encouraging registrants or faculty members. They will be happy to help, listen, or pray with you. Be sure to introduce yourself to at least one of them so they get a chance to meet you.

If you walk into lunch or dinner feeling tired, discouraged, or like you need a break from trying to impress editors, join us at the table designated as a No-Pressure Zone. There you can relax, connect with others, and get the lift you need to go into the rest of your day.

Still have questions? Contact Jeanette Hanscome and she will be happy to help you.

See you in April!