The Blessing of Accountability

I’d stopped and started more times than I could count. Waded into the water only to quickly retreat to the familiarity of the shore.

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I needed to do something different. I needed accountability.

I’d done writing conferences and workshops but always shied away groups. I’d convinced myself I wasn’t a group type of girl- I dreaded group projects in school, I was the poster child for “works well independently.” But obviously that mindset was not serving me well as a writer.

So when I finally took the leap and joined the YBJ Writing Accountability Group, my expectations were tempered. I figured I could gracefully bow out if it didn’t suit me. What I didn’t expect was to feel immediately and absolutely at home with a group of women I’d just met. Led by Yvonne Marie, M.Ed., these women were determined to live life on purpose with Christ at the center, using every gift and expression to serve and honor Him. As a writer and beyond, the group has challenged, encouraged and motivated me in ways I couldn’t have anticipated.

What does accountability mean to you? Where in your life do you need it most? Pursue it, invite it, embrace it -because you’ll never know the blessing that awaits.

A New Thing

Understanding what was

The gift of hindsight

The wisdom of experience

At peace with what is

Reconciling expectations

Forgiving what can’t be known

Hopeful for what will be

Buoyed by promise

Walking by faith

Envisioning endless possibilities

A New Thing.


“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”- Isaiah 43:19 NLT

“Why Not?!”

Around this time last year, I tried my hand at microfiction with The Writer Magazine’s 100-word contest. I don’t consider myself a fiction writer but, with time and a $10 entry fee to spare, I thought “Why not?!” So color me shocked when I finished as 1 of 50 semi-finalists. Ok. Not bad. Was I convinced I needed to begin creating characters and plotting a grand story? No. But I was, and still am, encouraged to keep challenging myself; trying new things, flexing new muscles and thinking outside the box. Step by step, a little more each day. How about you?

Here’s my 100-word story “Dear Kelly” (with a little homage to the classic Les Miserables):

“Dear John,
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m headed to New York. I can no longer deny my destiny. If I stay I will be devoured by bitterness and regret. I hope you understand. Please find a way to move on without me. Also, I have taken Marius. I don’t feel you ever had the time or capacity to give this brilliant soul the care he needs…
Dear Kelly,
A little surprised but also quite relieved. Hope you find what you’re looking for. And Marius was more your pet anyway. I’m allergic to cats.”

She Thought of Suicide

She thought of suicide today

No dark obsession

No detailed plan

Just a fleeting moment

With the weight of the world on her shoulders

Her mind teetering on the edge

“What if?”

She thought of suicide today

And felt ashamed

Comparing her plight

A life seemingly uncomplicated

Despising her weakness

She thought of suicide today

For just a fleeting moment

And then…

She reached out for help.


You are not alone. There is Hope. There is Light in the darkness. Hold on. Reach out.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What’s in a Name?

If you’re scratching your head thinking “Wait. What happened? Barnabas Blessings? I thought this was The Published Journey. Is this right? Am I in the right place?” Yes! Same blog, different name. Let me explain…

Who is Barnabas?

Acts 4:36 introduces Joseph, nicknamed by the apostles, Barnabas, meaning Son of Encouragement. He was known for his service to others, a good man, full of the Holy Sprit and full of faith. He gave generously of his resources. He encouraged those around him in their life and faith. He cheered for the underdog and offered acceptance to the outsider. He was a grace giver. He didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. Read more about Barnabas here.

Why Barnabas Blessings?

Nearly 15 years ago, at a time in my life when I desperately needed encouragement, I was compelled to pay it forward and thus began “Barnabas Blessings.” Along the way “Barnabas Blessings” became a book (a slow but steady work in progress) and my blogging focus turned to my journey and musings as a writer (“The Published Journey”). But sometimes God leads you back to the first thing, the main thing that you are so uniquely wired for, the thing that flows so naturally you might miss the significance. Encouragement has always been the undercurrent of this blog so the name change is simply a return to the Creator’s blueprint.

Why Jesus?

Just in case there was any question…Jesus is the reason for everything. I am who I am because of my faith; a personal, committed relationship with Jesus Christ that I pray informs every expression of my being. Some would have you believe you have to jump through hoops and make yourself worthy to come to Jesus, but He says simply, “Come.” No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, He loves you and invites you…baggage and all.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” -John‬ ‭6:37‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” -John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” -Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Finally, whoever you are and however you’ve come to this space… Welcome and Be encouraged!



Ordinary’s Impact

“I grew up with quilts like these.”

I remembered the quilts folded in closets, spread across beds and laid on floors as pallets. I remembered sleeping soundly tucked under their heavy warmth. To my young eyes they were just fabric scraps stitched together, a colorful hodgepodge, a mosaic of everyday life.

So as I stood with my husband in the Baltimore Museum of Art, I marveled at how what I considered such an ordinary part of my life now hung as art, admired and coveted by museums all over the world. Someone recognized the powerful beauty and impact of the stories of these quilts and the women who made them.

What do you have? An ability? An idea? A story? Your presence? It seems so ordinary and inconsequential to you yet it may have the power to shift the world around you for the good and the glory of God.

Sometimes our reflections are muddied by distraction and discouragement but I’m grateful God always sends reinforcements to remind us for whom and for what we’ve been created. Let this be your reminder. Don’t underestimate or diminish the impact of the “ordinary.”

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” -2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

Learn more about Gee’s Bend here

Building Bridges

Building Bridges by Lorenzo Quinn; Rendered by Halcyon Art International

“From a wise mind comes wise speech;
the words of the wise are persuasive.” -Proverbs 16:23

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” -Proverbs 16:24

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” -Proverbs 18:21

There have been many times over the past few weeks when I’ve thought “Hmm, I should write something about that.” When everyone else seems to be opining, reflecting, musing, and inspiring, there is sometimes undue pressure to add our own voice to the chorus.

Instead, I’ve just been pondering the weight of words. Words are powerful. What we say and write can lift or crush a spirit, promote peace or provoke chaos.

What do I want my words to do? I want my words to build bridges. Bridges to the blessed Trinity on which my faith & hope are built. Bridges of grace, understanding and forgiveness. I want to build bridges culturally and racially; though, honestly, recent times have made me consider dismantling my bridges, taking my pieces and quietly sitting in my own little corner. But Love convicts and compels me differently. So I will build, knowing I’m not perfect and I won’t always get it right but building bridges, I must.

What do you want your words to do?

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

Tis the season, friends. And no doubt it’s…different. I found myself close to ‘Bah Humbug’ until I was struck by the words of an old familiar carol:

🎶God rest ye merry gentlemen Let nothing you dismay Remember Christ our Savior Was born on Christmas Day To save us all from Satan’s pow’r When we were gone astray Oh tidings of comfort and joy Comfort and joy Oh tidings of comfort and joy🎶

So today I offer tidings of comfort and joy To the believer and the unbeliever To the cheerful and the grieving To the hopeful and the discouraged To the gathered and the lonely

And I pray we all remember and come to know Immanuel, the One who was, is and always will be with us.

“…She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”- Isaiah 7:14

“…and He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours!