Low tops VS mids

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Lets just begin by saying without shoes where would we be?  Now I know that there are some places in the world don’t even have socks let alone shoes but that shouldn’t hinder us from some healthy discussion on style points.  So in my time on this earth I have worn almost every style of shoe imagineable but let’s face it what we really need to be concerned about is function, then fashion.  For me, I have to be able to do one of the following in my shoes

  • Bomb a hill
  • Skate a park
  • Do a wheelie or bunnie hop or kick-out
  • Run decently fast
  • Jump out of a moving vehicle
  • Climb a great tree

That pretty much sums up the need for shoes im my world and then by the way they gotta look sweet too.  You know, like you know what your talkin bout.  The other thing is they gots to be steady.  Meaning I have to be able to wear them with pants or shorts and not look goofy, which is why High Tops aren’t even a part of this discussion because of this eqaution

shorts + socks + High Tops = pants

besides when in your daily routine do need “ankle support”  all lumberjacks and crusty construction workers are dismissed at this time.

So now that we are alone let’s get down to business….is it lows or mids?  Let me make my case and then I will gladly take any comment or questions.

I’ll just come right out with it LOWS!  There I said it and here is why.  The low top is the most casual of all shoe.  It says “hey bud I know you see me” and also just gives you the easy confidence of a man about his business.  I will also say that there are far more variety of low tops available making them the dominating force in all shoedom.  Think about Run DMC, when they rocked the mic they were wearing lows.  Think about just rollin with your hommies who’s wearin what….lows.  And let me close with this, a recent study shows that we spend a total of at least two weeks of our life tying our shoes.  Now with Mids your adding a couple of  extra shoe string holes which means more time fussing about and getting your feet all situated which could easily lend itself to more of your life being spent tying your shoes.  If you are wearing mids right now I would say you’ve probably lost a good additional day or maybe even two just messing with those laces dahwg.  Which is why I wear slip ons as much as possible, which are mainly available in lows.

thank you for your time.

The Paradigm Shift of a Hot Dog

Posted by & filed under Youth, Youth Pastors.

So the other day I was with a good friend of mine and we had a hankerin for some 31 flavs, you know jamocha nut slam, peanut buttery slider with a swirl of whatever that goo is, or the most confusing… gumbally wally.  So we had in mind the promise of the pink and blue sign skillfully located in some strip mall located next to some video store and a take home pizza joint.  To our surprise we found our Robins, Baskin in an old Der Weiner Schnitzel hut.  After a triple take and quick argument of whether or not we were going to get a foot long or a single scoop, we were there.

Paradigm shift #1  The protrusive A frame of Der Weiner Schnitzel is actually now a 31 Flavors?  I see the roof  line and I smell hot dogs but what waits inside is an arctic wasteland of frozen sugar and cream, and super ripped forearms….strange.

As we approached the front doors I was suddenly struck with a great idea.  It all happened at once…I claimed out loud that I am going to the top of that Weiner Roof to enjoy the view, and I was off.  In a full sprint.  By the way I’m pretty fast for 6’2″ and pushing 2 bills (you know winter and lazinesss).  Anywhoo I was two steps into my approach and my buddy said “that’s would be so sweet” .  The “eeeeet” was still hanging in the air when my foot made contact with the side of Der Weiner, dang it I mean Baskin and Robins.  And immediately following my first step was the momentum of my face.  You see you will almost get no where in life unless you lean into it and so I did .  The thing is, the marine layer had settled upon this fiberglass roof which had created the recipe for “slicker than snot”, and thus my face was rapidly approaching contact with Der Weiner Schnitzel.  Dangit, sorry, Baskin and Robins.  Fortunately for me, and you if we are ever attacked in a dark alley, I have wicked fast reflexes and was able to somehow catch my self before a certain shattering of teeth happened.  Sadly no summit was achieved that night, but fortunately ice cream was ate, even if I was thinking about hot dogs the whole time.

Paradigm shift #2  What appeared to be was not.  A promising A frame suggesting glorious peaks and promising views was just the worlds fastest slip-n-slide disguised as a roof.  A Weiner roof that is.

All this to say that things have been talked about and tried.  Big ideas have been even bigger flops, i mean take the double bun bike seat for crying out loud!  But let us pause and be encouraged to know what you know and risk big,  for reward could be hidden in a shape shifting hot dog stand.  Just stretch those hammies and go for it!

Don’t forget the dental insurance.

Why am I Such a Goof-Off?

Posted by & filed under Youth, Youth Pastors.

The last post I wrote was about mentoring (the Spock/Yoda thing).  This one is about mentoring as well—the topic is something close to my heart and I’ve studied it a lot.  I promise no more 70’s/80’s sci-fi films references in this one.

So I am 43 now and still love to play.  Not just once in a while, but A LOT.  I’ll play nerf darts with my kids, surf any chance I get, (any game or sport for that matter) and join in most extemporaneous outbreaks of fun in the office.  Envision –shooting baskets with trash, sliding on trays down hills, and other stuff I won’t list (so people don’t think I’m a total slacker).
I get my work done and even act professional most of the time, but I’ve always wondered if there was something different about me because I seemed to like recess way more than class time.  Doesn’t that stuff stop when you get older?  Anyone else feel like that?
This all came to a head for me at one of those professional national conferences some years back.  I’d go to these to learn and grow in my profession, but secretly looked forward most to the creative late night activities we’d come up with.  For example, for some reason we had this challenge that we had to swim in whatever body of water was near the city of the conference.   I passed when we were in Colorado Springs one December because the ice was too thick, but I wish I would have passed in Orlando when we swam across that alligator infested lake at midnight.  We’d get about 3 hours of sleep per night and just crash for a few days once we got home.   I always learned a lot in the seminars and meetings (the ones I stayed awake in), but wondered if I should act more grown up.
Now, fast-forward to one of my doctoral classes at Fuller a few years ago.  I was in a session on peer-mentoring taught by Dr. Bobby Clinton.  He was my favorite teacher and an expert in the field of leadership.  He wrote a great book on mentoring called “Connecting: the Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life”.
Anyhow during this lecture he says as we get older we have less and less significant peer relationships and one of the most vital ingredients is fun together.  I’ve paraphrased his content on this issue this way:  Fun + Friends + Faith are the main ingredients of a significant peer friendship.
Those three ingredients exponentially accelerate each other.  In other words, the more fun you have the deeper your friendship and faith can grow together and visa-versa.  I’ve seen this principle proven over and over and over again.  That’s why camp is so much fun to come to—we have amazing challenges in our faith, you meet great people and having fun is expected.
If anyone out there needed a license to goof-off, there you go. See you at camp!! ,


The Adventures of Jimmy K., Mary Jane, and Chelsea

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Once upon a time, on a far off mountain top called Ponderosa, lived two happy munchkins named Mary Jane and Chelsea. Everyday, Mary Jane and Chelsea would don their colorful sweat pants and comb their stylish hair, and run to and fro across the grassy knoll on top of Ponderosa, pretending they were ping-pong balls and locomotive trains while sipping their coffee. The squirrels, birds, and rodents would watch and hum to the tune of the girls’ happiness.
But alas, one day, Mary Jane and Chelsea had to say goodbye to their beloved friend Scooter. He was on his way to another far off, distant land, so he could learn more stuff. Chelsea pouted her bottom lip, and Mary Jane withheld a silent sob in her throat, as the two stood at the top of the mountain and waved goodbye to Scooter.
As the months went on, Mary Jane and Chelsea tried to be brave. They would smile and wave to the visitors of the mountain as they came to share in the girls’ happiness. But as time went on, both girls knew that life on Ponderosa would never be the same.
Then one day, three people arrived on top of the mountain by way of long-board. Mary Jane and Chelsea squinted their eyes as the visitors approached, and then with a burst excitement, realized it was their new dear friends Jimmy K., Cynthia, and their son Gustavian. Mary Jane and Chelsea locked their arms and dosie-dosed in circles across the meadow and sang, because they were so happy their new friends were at Ponderosa to stay. The excitement brought together their other friends too: Emmeline Bartholomew who joined their song in harmony, Kelly Flane who gleefully giggled and Kittredge Car who clapped her hand together.
Life on Ponderosa became happy again. Mary Jane and Chelsea had three new friends, Jimmy K., Cynthia and Gustavian. And every morning, as the birds began to sing, all the people of Ponderosa would gather together and clink their “OceanSpin” mugs full of coffee, and continue to sing and dance.

The Nature of Power

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Youth, Youth Pastors.

Last year, I began my job at Kidder Creek – Mount Hermon’s satellite camp in the Marble Mountains.  After moving from LA County (population 10,363,850) to Greenview (population 200), I experienced a brief period of culture shock, and became somewhat of a podcast junkie.  Without internet or television at my house, podcasts seemed to be my only link to the outside world, and I would download them by the gigabyte before leaving the office each day.

One of my favorites is the Discovery Channel Video Podcast – I highly recommend it. Every few days they release a new one – usually a short clip from one of their more popular programs.

I want to share one with you.  It’s called “The Nature of Power: Hans Florine” 

An arrogant title, no doubt – but ultra cool if your name is Hans Florine.  Imagine if it was your name in there – “The nature of power: Craig Thompson”  I feel my biceps growing already.

Listen to the way he talks about rock climbing – with such confidence, adoration, and excitement.  I hope that’s how you talk about ministry – I hope that’s how I talk about ministry!  

Hans sees climbing as a challenge, a joy, and a thrill.  It consumes his attention. It is his love.  Perhaps most profound: there are times when he doesn’t remember how incredible it is – until he shares it with someone else.

Check it out if you have 2 minutes.

Land of Beat Poets and Amish Rappers

Posted by & filed under Youth.

The title to Katie’s blog last week reminded me of one of the most simple yet beautiful times of Echo: the talent show. Through the weeks, we saw the entirety of The Princess Bride recreated; we heard piano playing, beautifully written songs, and the ordered cacophony of tap shoes; we felt (or at least one of us did) the refreshing cascade of buckets of water being spilled all over us; and we even got a taste of Eric Garner’s dance moves.

These were fun times for me. I was consistently impressed and humbled by the talent that could be drummed up from just a few people with only about an hour of preparation.  But talent shows were more than that for me. They were a microcosm of the larger community of Echo. At the talent shows, I saw a people dedicated to service, worship, study, and community. Service was being willing to take a backseat in someone else’s talent (maybe setting up the music for someone else’s dance, doing the beat-box for a friend’s rap, or giving up your costume for another person’s routine). Worship was evident in the content of the songs and poems written and performed. Study was clear in the math demonstrations that were given, the careful crafting of a verse, and the rote memorization of the entire song Amish Paradise. And community was all over the place. Community was the laughter that was the soundtrack of our evenings–my sides ached after each one. Community was the encouragement and acceptance and praise of one another–not once all summer did I hear boos or biting remarks. Community was the vulnerability–to stand up in front of a group and sing accapella a song that you wrote takes guts and it takes trust!

On the surface, talent shows were just straight up fun. My stuffed Eeyore costume was precious to me, and he brought to life the spirit of the dance that had lay dormant for so long in my soul. But there was a lot more to it than just that. Like I said, it’s a microcosm of the larger Echo experience.


Random Thoughts with MJ

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Hello Cyber-Friends

MJ here with the latest and greatest blogtastic news. “What is that you might say?”  Well let me tell you. I have just graduated with my doctorate in Blogging with an emphasis in Random Thoughts and a minor in Q&A. “What does this all mean?” Well again let me tell you. It means that every so often you will be receiving a top-notch quality blogging entry from me!  Anything from Random Thoughts to answering your questions, this blog will have it all….well at least more than Jeremy Klaniecki’s blogs.

Random thoughts…I don’t agree with automatic flushing toilets. I am a grown up. I know when to flush. Why is it that I now walk into a bathroom and everything from the toilet, soap, water and paper towels are automatic? What does this mean? Is our hygiene that poor that we need our bathroom trips to be so accommodating? That one might almost have to rebel in order to have poor hygiene? Forgive me if I am sharing to much but I believe my bone to pick with automatic bathrooms comes from a past embarrassing experience. I was caught off guard one time when I entered a stall and the toilet censor registered falsely. I jumped at the noise and the water spray that I was not expecting since I did NOT flush the toilet. I lunged forward and hit my head on the coat/purse hook on the back of the stall door, creating a loud noise followed by an “ouch”      I was hurt – my pride was hurt – I no longer enjoy automatic flushing toilets.

Dear MJ, should I bring sheets to camp or a sleeping bag, I noticed that you can bring either.
-Clueless in Carmel

Dear Carmel- this one is in the bag (pun intended) Bring a sleeping bag – here is why. #1- sleeping bags are cool. #2- you sleep in sheets all the time, branch out.  #3 – You can’t camp out on the porch in sheets.

Echo, Eeechhooo You Stole My Heart and My Cat….

Posted by & filed under General.

“At all times, every hour, every minute, even at my busiest times, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of God. This has been my practice since the first days I entered into religion. Though I have done it imperfectly, I have found great advantages in this practice. I am aware, however, that all of these advantages are to be attributed to the mercy and the goodness of God, because we can do nothing without him-especially me!

But when we are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us, this not only prevents our offending him or doing something displeasing in his sight (at least willfully), but it also brings to us a holy freedom, and if I may say so, a familiarity with God wherein we may ask and receive the graces we are so desperately in need of.” –Brother Lawrence, A Habitual Sense of God’s Presence from Devotional Classics pg. 369

When I think of Echo and service Brother Lawrence always seems to pop into my head.  My prayer for all of us as we go throughout our days, attending classes, hanging out with friends or reminiscing about cutting strawberries and peppers up at Pondy, dodging poison oak at Redwood or scrubbing toilets at Conference Center, is that we “are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us…”

Godspeed. –Tall Kate

Author Austin Boyd Lauds Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

“My agent, Les Stobbe, had some sage guidance for me from day one. A bit of wisdom that I recommend every writer follow was “go to a writer’s conference.” He offered me two that were coming up soon and I chose the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, near Santa Cruz, California at Mount Hermon Christian Camps & Conference Center. What a great bit of advice from Les! I had always considered these gatherings to be for writer groupies and critique groups. I was so wrong. Mount Hermon exposed me to a dozen interested editors and that networking was the catalyst to get my work into print. In the many seminars and editor meetings that I attended in those critical five days, I found that often a publisher buys the author as well as the book. A conference gives you the chance to interface with people who are seeking an author that will be a draw for audiences in the marketing phase, and an author who can articulate the message of his or her manuscript. Mount Hermon was a watershed event in my publishing process.”

Thanks, Austin, for your great comments. And the rest of you . . . have a great weekend!

C.S. Lewis: Five Rules on Good Writing

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

This is the first blog I’ve written in a week and a half having been visited with the respiratory flu bug. Not fun . . . but while I was “resting” I read something C. S. Lewis wrote that I thought was perfect for the writers blog, so here it is–Enjoy!

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “more people died” don’t say “mortality rose.”

4. In writing, don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please, will you do my job for me?”

5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

So there you have it, in Clive Lewis’s own words! If you can pull that off you’ll be a much better writer than you presently are. Go for it!

Be Loved

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Valentines Day is over. Pink and red and hearts and flowers and cupids and chocolate and chick flicks and…

The day of LUV has come and gone. My friends and I have joked that Valentine’s Day would be more aptly named “Singles Awareness Day.” The truth is whether you have a sweetie to snuggle up to or simply a box of See’s from your grandma, it’s a day where you are keenly aware of who loves you. This silly holiday evokes emotions ranging from bliss to despair. All this got me thinking… how often do I stop to think about the lover of my soul? What do I feel when I think about God loving me? Do I really believe He loves me, do I celebrate and giggle with my friends over it? How does He love me? The answers are deep and as type these thoughts Zephaniah 3:17 comes to mind:

The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.

Who could ask for a better Valentine than that?! I think I’ll dwell on that for awhile. Perhaps the Day of LUV has just begun…

Interviewing Secrets Revealed

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Twenty-seven interviews in two days.  Needless to say, we are deep in the thick of  interviewing summer staff for 09.

We travel up and down the state (and  around the country) chatting it up with potential staff.  Sure we ask  some of the cheesey interview questions and sure some people come dressed in a  suit and tie and sure everybody’s nervous, but I love it.  We catch  all these glimpses of the greatest commandment being lived out in college-aged  students lives.

We may not flat out ask, “Do you love the Lord your God  with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength?  and “Do you love your  neighbor as yourself?”  But in the way they share about navigating  confrontation, putting others needs above their own,and living out their faith,  they answer “yes” to both of THE questions.

It’s simple.  It’s  beautiful.  And the icing on the cake is seeing Echo Alumni (like Johnny,  Caitlin, PJ, Sarah, Lisa, and Lorianne) who I have seen live out these  great commandments during summer apply to come not just as campers, but as  staff.


Posted by & filed under Youth.

Hello cyber friends this is the first of many blog posts to be seen.  Let me just start by blogging to you about blogging.  We will find our blogness and eventually blog it up….. Huge!  But for now we just can’t get our blog on without a little blogedy blog so the call goes out to you.  The readers.  The “Peeps” if you will of our little community which floats around in space until you choose to point and click, drag and drop, cut and paste, view and link, or better yet respond to the great blog.  You have our commitment and so from this point on blog we will, and we will.  But for you the readers, the thinkers, the cyber patrol, the future of this country, will you respond?  Will our blogs go unread?  Will they fall on deaf ears or blind eyes.  Have you done so much computering that you have lost the will to save this thread?  I hope not.  So for those about to BLOG  we salute you.  Blog ON and Blog out.  See you in space and hopefully some day we will have real human contact.

Blogeddy blog blogo


Spock vs. Yoda

Posted by & filed under Youth, Youth Pastors.

I was asked this week to teach the interns here at Mount Hermon on the topic of mentoring.  (there are about a dozen interns here each year—they’re a fun part of our team here).  Anyhow, as I prepared for this time I wondered who would be a better mentor…Spock or Yoda.  Now I’m no Trekkie and I can’t say I know all of the Star Wars movies by name, but I do know those two characters would be a great way to compare and contrast some of my thoughts on mentoring.  (what’s that show where they make modern day personalities with claymation and battle it out in the boxing ring?—who would win that Spock or Yoda?  I digress…).
So here’s the deal.  Yoda is this all-wise trainer of the Jedi’s.  He was really old and wise (and pretty spry in those light saber battles!) and had a long list of successful Jedi.   I think he did some work with Darth Vader who didn’t turn out so well, so he wasn’t perfect, right?  Then there is Spock.  I know less about this guy/Vulcan.  He was this no-emotion, all logic part of the crew…and he had those killer pointy ears—but Yoda did too—even bigger!  I also remember as a kid we’d do the Spock grip on each other’s neck—ouch.   I don’t remember if he actually did any training of anyone but I do know that he was always true to himself (is he a self?).    What you saw is what you got.
When it comes to mentoring, we’re just supposed to give what God has given us.  If  it is a skill we’ve learned, a gift of encouragement, knowledge or wisdom or just a listening ear and caring heart.  Our job is to pass on what we have received from the Lord to others who will then pass it on as well.  I run into a lot of people who still feel inadequate as mentors, and many of them have years of experience and training!  The sense is that they often fear they will not provide what is needed for each person or that they have too many imperfections in their own life.  While those challenges are real, the reality is that anyone can give away what God has given them.  Just be yourself, discern what God has given to you and pass it on.
Spock vs. Yoda?  I’m thinking Yoda would probably win the death match claymation thing since he’s got that lazer sword and sorta flies when he fights, but mentoring might be a toss-up.  If I wanted to learn about flying a spaceship on pure logic and chase cling-ons he’s my guy/Vulcan.

Opening Day of Ponderosa Lodge: June 25, 1969

Posted by & filed under Alumni.

Ponderosa Lodge’s ministry began June 25, 1969. I found out whenever you begin something new there are a lot of unknowns and we certainly experienced them opening the Lodge. The Dinning Room and Forum were not yet finished so we ate and met in the Multipurpose Room downstairs. That opening year was so anticipated by Churches and people in the Bay Area that we overfilled and had to open up another week before Counselor Training. Yep, we ran a week of camp with no training.  It made the following week of Counselor Training a very special week because we came at training with a need to know how to counsel!

That first summer we only hired 24 counselors – 1 per cabin. So there was not rotation that first summer. Ponderosa’s programming goes from 7:00 a.m. until about midnight most days so I had visions of purchasing pine boxes for each of the counselors at the end of that summer. They held up really well and it proved to be a great unifying factor that summer and continues to this day.

We purchased an 8’ in diameter ball to use on the Recreation Field the first day of summer. The camp was divided in half and positioned on each side of the field…the ball in the middle. The object for each team was to run to the ball and push it across to the other team’s goal on the opposite side of the field. I blew the whistle and every one went flying to the ball. The fastest person from each team impacted the ball at the same time which catapulted them into the oncoming crowd. A counselor hit his head on the knee of an oncoming student and went into convulsive shock. (Remember we only have 24 counselors for 24 full cabins!) He recovered and was back in the cabin later that afternoon with a purple heart. From that time on we had the teams circle the ball and push it back to their own goal reducing the inertia from a straight on direct hit.

In order to get into Ponderosa Lodge in the early days you had to bring a friend with you. We were focused on evangelism at that time in the Bay Area. My most vivid memory is seeing the number of students lined up outside John Fisher’s back of the Forum closet office to talk to him about following Christ. Because John was on the cutting edge nationally of the changing worship styles the students respected him and wanted to know about the Jesus he wrote and sang about. John did the work of an evangelist and was one of the most effective I have ever experienced. The whole staff took on the challenge to love and reach out to students in a time of national upheaval and God brought so many into the Kingdom that summer. I still look at that 1969 Staff picture and thank God for what He accomplished through that special group of people

Announcing Ponderosa Lodge’s 40th Anniversary Celebration

Posted by & filed under Alumni.

Jacquie and I are so looking forward to Ponderosa Lodge’s 40th Anniversary this summer. Can you believe that is has already been 40 years since we started that ministry? Save the dates of August 21-23, 2009 for the big celebration and plan on coming it is going to be great! If you were on Summer Staff, a Camper, a donor, a Mount Hermon Associate, or one of the people developing this ministry/facility, we need you to come and help us enthusiastically celebrate!!! More information following…keep your eye on this blog.

Ron Demolar

TAYLOR’S TIPS for a productive writing career…

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

One of our Writers Conference faculty, B. J. Taylor, sent this blog today. Enjoy!

When the professional photographer set up a fan and started blowing my hair around I wanted to yell STOP. Wind-blown hair, flying all over the place, that’s just not me. It felt uncomfortable. It felt like I wasn’t in control–every strand of hair wasn’t perfectly in place. It felt well, different. But I told myself it was okay to stretch, to take a leap of faith, to stick my neck out there…to blow in the wind. So I let her take the shots. And I looked at them when she was done. Hmmm…I liked it. I was out of my comfort zone, but it felt kind of good.

I wondered if I was in a comfort zone with my writing. Reach out and try new markets? That would be too scary. Speak at a women’s event? Goosebumps would break out all over my body. Write a novel? Too daunting to even think about.

But what am I getting by doing what I’ve always done? I’m getting the same thing as always. So for 2009 will you join me? Let’s take some chances, fly with the wind, dare to risk. Let’s stick our necks out. Here’s a list of some of the things you might try:

  • Write a book proposal for that idea you have.
  • Speak at an event, or join a speaker’s bureau, to get your feet wet.
  • Make an appointment to talk to an editor or agent at a conference.
  • Submit to three new markets.
  • Begin to work on your novel (you know you’ve been thinking about it!).
  • Take a class to beef up your writing skills.
  • Join a writers group.

What else can you think of that is outside of your comfort zone? It might be a little scary and feel quite uncomfortable, but pretty soon if you keep doing it you’ll become more and more at ease with stretching, growing, and blowing in the wind.

Fly with me in 2009. And if you want accountability, send me a quick email to tell me WHAT you plan to do…and then as Nike says, “Just Do It!

Follow your dreams…

B. J. Taylor

Important Form for Registrants of Writers on Website

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

I just uploaded the form on the web that helps registrants know what the publishers, editors and freelancers want to see and are willing to critique. It’s the most important form for writers to see so they can make intelligent decisions as to what person they want to peruse/critique their pre-conference manuscripts. Have at it, writers! 

Keep praying for more writers to sign up even though the economy is difficult at the moment.  We’re excited about what God wants to do through this time together.

Thanks so much,

Rachel Williams
Director, Christian Writers Conference

Jerry B. Jenkins Got His Start At Mount Hermon Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference has long been the standard by which all others are judged.  I attended their first more than 30 years ago and have been back nearly 20 times.  It’s been a kick to see it grow.

It may seem strange for someone who hosts his own writing conference every year to, in essence, endorse the “competition.”  But I’ll admit it: Our Christian Writers Guild’s Writing for the Soul conference patterns itself largely after the Mount Hermon conference.  It was there I learned especially the value of a deep lineup of workshops and exposure to book and magazine editors and veteran authors to evaluate manuscripts and counsel people on their writing futures.

Mount Hermon also offers inspirational keynote speakers and great music, and the friendships and professional relationships begun there can last a lifetime.  My entire adult life has been immerced in writing, editing, and publishing, and I still like to attend writers conferences as a conferee.  No matter where a writer is in his or her journey, we all need to remain lifetime students of the craft.

Jerry B. Jenkins

New York Times best-selling author of the Left Behind books and Riven; owner of the Christian Writers Guild

Kudos From A Former Writers Conference Attendee

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

I cannot begin to recommend the Mount Hermon Writers Conference enough!  It’s always held Psalm Sunday weekend in the awe-inspiring redwood forests of CA.  I credit this conference (God-inspired, of course) for landing my contract with Multnomah for my passion book, Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer.

Just so you know, I didn’t sign a contract there, but met the editor who would champion my book all the way to a contract.  Networking is invaluable, especially these days when many publishing houses will not accept freelance work.  It pays to know someone.  Editors are looking for fresh talent at conferences.  That is one major reason they participate.  When you send in a query and submission to a publishing house and can say you met the editor at Mount Hermon’s Writers Conference, you’ll most likely get your project looked at.

So I encourage you to go to Mount Hermon’s Writers Conference.  You will learn tons, make invaluable contacts, and begin wonderful new friendships.  It’s not cheap, but nothing worthwhile is. If you can’t go this year, start saving your pennies for next year. 

There are a number of wonderful conferences out there, but this one, hands-down is the best–la creme de la creme!  And what other conference could beat those renowned redwood trees?  Go for it!

Lynn Morrissey

Head Start Mentoring Gets Boost from Mentoring Faculty Member

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

One of our faculty members for the Head Start Mentoring Clinic sent in this e-mail this morning and a new video to encourage those of you who might not have considered this opportunity. Here is what she says in her own words:

I created this new video for the Mount Hermon Head Start Mentoring program that falls right before the conference April 1—3.

First off: No, I’m not going to make a career out of writing conference promotional videos!

But, I am really passionate about this mentoring program, offered right before the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. If you know of beginning to intermediate writers who would benefit from some one-to-one and group mentoring prior to the conference, consider steering them toward this clinic. It’s not often folks get to have a professional critique your work, help guide a career, and learn from other writers. This is a unique opportunity.

Check the Mount Hermon website for all conference information, forms and instructions you need to register. By the way, I’m one of the nonfiction mentors for Head Start, so if you’re writing nonfiction, there’s a good chance we might get to work together!

Mary DeMuth

YouTube Video of past Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

This is a wonderful video taken in 2007 by a writer who attended Mount Hermon Writers Conference.  It has such a joyful feel to it and will give you a very clear picture of the beauty of Mount Hermon’s campus, as well as the fun and learning that’s available for participants. 

Mount Hermon Blog Beginning for Writers

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

We’ve coming of age!  Mount Hermon is now “blogging” with everyone else out there.  Intentional information for writers, available writers resources, testimonials from published authors who got their start at Mount Hermon Writers Conferences in the past, and a myriad of other articles by and for writers will be posted here from this point on.  We’ll be posting several times a week . . . hopefully you’ll subscribe to our blog and we’ll become a regular part of your blog reading, an encouragement to your call to write, and a viable resource for you.  We welcome your comments to this new venue.

Our April 3-7, 2009 Writers Conference Children’s Writing Track Instructor (WOW, that was a mouthful!), Mona Hodgson, sent me a wonderful testimonial today and I wanted to share it with you . . .

“I can’t say that I had a dream to write.  It felt more like a nudge . . . even a nagging.  Be that as it may, I felt compelled to explore the possibilities.  That’s what took me to my very first writers’ conference–Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in April, 1988.  I’ve been a loyal fan ever since.  Little did I know, as I took those first shakey steps, how crucial that conference would turn out to be for my 21 years (and still counting) writing career and ministry.”   

Mona’s website

I’ll soon be putting up links to many of our 2009 faculty members blogs, so keep coming back to see us!

A story of God’s perfect planning at Redwood Camp

Posted by & filed under Stories of Ministry.

I do not believe in coincidences.

When I was nine years old, I attended Redwood Camp for the first time. My parents were going through an extremely messy divorce. To help me escape and relax through this troubled time, my mom sent me to camp, where I bonded with an empathetic counselor, someone who patiently listened to the fears and challenges my friends at home could not always appreciate. This solace brought me back to Redwood year after year.

When I was too old to attend as a camper, I began volunteering in the Redwood Camp kitchen. And finally, during college, I returned as a counselor. Within my first week of counseling, I found myself sitting on a familiar bench one night beneath the stars, cradling a nine-year-old camper who wept over a broken relationship with her father. This experience repeated itself several times throughout the summer. It seemed my cabin was a magnet for such kids. My painful past, which at one time had been a source of shame, was transformed into a beautiful account of survival that I could use to encourage campers going through similar experiences. Was this a coincidence?

During and after my college years at UCLA, God provided me unique opportunities abroad. Not only did I get to study in France – I also got to spend some time working on a hospital ship in the African country of Liberia. Returning to Redwood Camp for the summers, I was able to minister to several French-speaking campers as well as to a Liberian refugee who had come to Redwood as a camper. I missed Africa dearly that summer, and this girl’s mannerisms, accent and smile eased my spirit. We ate fried plantains (a common Liberian snack) on corndog day, and I loaned her one of my vibrant pieces of Liberian clothing so we could dress alike for twin day. Of all the summers in the 100 years of Redwood’s existence, Vivian came the very summer after I returned from Liberia. Coincidence?

I do not believe in coincidences, because I believe God ordains that people will cross paths at specific places and times, plans for a heartache in one person to stir hope in another, and uses small children to teach adults. Although my time at Redwood has ended, the summers I spent there remind me to look for purpose in encounters and to expect meaning in every situation.