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March 2017 Newsletter -  Click Here

April 2017 Newsletter - Click Here

Summer 2017 - No Newsletter due to a move 

MOPS talk in Cary, IL

FRI., Oct. 6, 2017 - I presented a new talk called "Gossip Girl No More" to the Living Grace Community Church MOPS group in Cary, IL. The first time you do a talk you always wonder how it will be received. Based on all the good discussion and great questions at the end, I think it was a topic that was well received. One mom wrote on her feedback form, "Every woman could use this presentation" and another said, "Great topic that is rarely discussed." So excited to be doing it again for another MOPS group next week!

Illinois Christian Home Educators (ICHE) Conference in Wheaton, IL  

JUNE 1, 2017 - I had the joy of speaking to men, women, and children at the ICHE State Conference. They asked me to be a Funshop speaker, meaning they wanted me to share the Spiritual Circle Journals (both kids and adult versions) as a fun and fresh new way to connect deeply with God. I loved teaching the children that God has a plan for their lives and that they must be listening for His daily guidance in the small stuff to see His bigger picture. I shared how the five listening circles helps them connect the dots of what He is trying to do.  A woman who attended sent me this message, "It was my favorite class at the convention! You did a great job. Thank you!" Praise God for bringing us all together and giving me the words He wanted me to share.

Mini-Morning Women's Retreat to teach Spiritual Circle Journaling with Holy Yoga

SAT., May 20, 2017 - I was very excited to do a morning retreat for the women at St. Thomas of Villanova in Palatine, IL with Holy Yoga Instructor Nancy Loessl. This was my first time partnering with a yoga instructor and I loved it! I taught them how to "Find God in the Chaos" of their busy lives with the 9 prayer circles of the Spiritual Circle Journal that helps bring focus to their quiet time.  My two-hour session was followed with an hour of yoga to praise music and scripture. I changed into my yoga clothes and joined the fun! Thank you Rachel Bertrand for organizing this gathering. If you are interested in a fun evening or morning like this, see the event flyer I provide and contact me at [email protected]. It is so easy to do a gathering like this!

Hearts at Home National Conference in Peoria, IL 

THUR, FRI., SAT April 20-22, 2017  - Artist and Retreat Partner Tamara Peterson and I had a blast in our booth at the 2017 National Hearts at Home Conference in Peoria, IL. We met so many wonderful women and we loved our "neighbors" from nearby booths.  Many signed up for the free kids devotional we offered that goes with (or without) the Spiritual Circle Journal for Kids. We had over 30 requests for speaker information so we hope to really get to know some of those ladies as we work with them to bring these two fresh and fun ways of connecting with God to their women. The Hearts at Home staff was amazing and a pleasure to work with. Praising God for a wonderful event and safe travels! 

MOPS Talk in Elmhurst, IL

TUES., April 4, 2017 - MOPS moms at a group in Elmhurst, IL learned what makes them tick as I shared my talk about the importance of knowing our Unique Core Values. They were given time to take the values assessment I use with my clients. My favorite part was the interactive time at the end where women shared what they discovered through the talk and taking the test and how they might be able to incorporate their clearly defined values into their lives - making them better moms, wives and women! 

MOPS Talk in Clarendon Hills, IL 

THUR. & FRI March 9th & 10th, 2017  - The MOPS group from Christian Church of Clarendon Hills asked me to speak on the topic, "Finding God in the Chaos." Praying they will crave the two-way communication God wants with His children even more after hearing my story and that they will be better listeners as the Holy Spirit guides after learning the five listening circles. Their Coordinator Britta is pictured with me. Read my Instablog post on Instagram from this day for some encouragement.  

MOPS Talk in Oak Brook, IL

WED., Feb. 22, 2017 - I presented "What Makes You Tick" to a large MOPS group at Christ Church of Oak Brook. I helped them understand how God wired them by teaching them about unique core values - what they are, what they are not, why it is important to know our values, and we talked about the need to incorporate them into daily life. I gave them a values assessment that they took mid-meeting. I left them with a few fun, tangible things they could do at home around this topic. One feedback form said, "This made me evaluate my life and think about what is important to my family and I." Praying the results are better moms, wives, and families!

MOPS Talk in Dyer, IN

THUR. & FRI., Feb. 9th and 10th, 2017 -  I spoke to about 100 moms total at Faith Church MOPS in Dyer, IN just before Valentines Day. I prayed God would give my words wings and that He would help me connect deeply with these women and they would feel His love. I felt God answered that prayer and felt His presence big time as I spoke, especially during the 10-minute quiet time when we played worship music and gave them space to be with God as they gave Spiritual Circle Journaling a try. Please pray women are desiring a thriving relationship with the Lord who wants to Hug them. I left feeling that was a huge part of my purpose for being there. Praying some did as I suggested and talked with MOPS leaders about how to have a relationship with God if they don't currently have one. 

Confirmation Day Retreat

SAT., Jan. 21, 2017 - We were honored to be asked to lead this confirmation retreat for about 75 Ninth Graders at a parish in Arlington Heights, IL. It was different than other retreats because there were teen girls AND boys. Man did those kids love paint and they used tons of it! It was fun to watch them create their canvases. We pray they learned some prayer guidance and tools that will help them learn to recognize the Holy Spirit's guidance in their lives, know Him better, and move into what He has for their lives. This boy's canvas with the car proves he got the point we drove home. It says, "God has a plan for where He wants YOU to go!"

Seeking God Retreat in St. Charles, IL

JAN. 14, 2017 - Tamara Peterson and I spoke at a "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" retreat in St. Charles, IL hosted by Mary Miller. It was a great day with about 20 women and some teen girls. Tamara was very sick with a horrible cold, but thanking God that she was able to speak. Mary Miller is an amazing lady who wanted to bring this retreat to her friends this January so, by the grace of God, we pulled this day together in record time (like about 5 weeks). I had two firsts that day - holding a chameleon and hosting a retreat in a home (normally they are at churches & retreat centers). We loved having some teen girls there with us that day. They added so much to the event.

MOPS Talk in Forest Park, IL

NOV. 18, 2016 - I spoke at this beautiful old brick church in Forest Park, IL for a MOPS group of about 40 moms. I had lots of tech issues that day due to an old sound/video board, but their steering member rocked and saved the day as much as possible. Always love watching volunteers serving in their gifts. During the built-in quiet time session I was able to visit with one of their pastors and see an 8-day old precious baby! It is always a joy to do this work God has called me to. I actually tear up as I talk to God on my way to speak because I feel so thankful to be doing this with Him. One mom came up to me at the end and said something like this, "You actually took all that stuff that goes through our head and put it in a format that makes sense of it all." All the credit goes to God as the one who answered my prayer to help me find a way to find Him in my "new normal" with three kids.

MOPS Talk in Libertyville, IL

NOV. 4, 2016 - I spoke to about 55 MOPS moms who meet at Crosslife Church in Libertyville, IL. It was another gorgeous fall day and the Cubs just won the world series so we were all in a fabulous mood! I taught them how to "Find God in the Chaos"  in the small pockets of time they could find. One mom said, "This gave me a format to connect with God in a way I can actually do even in the middle of life's chaos." Another said, "Great resource to keep my time with God fresh and real." Thankful that God is faithful and shows up every time we do this talk together. I love working with Him and praise Him every time I get to share this with others who might need it.

MOPS Talk in Richland, MI

OCT. 27, 2016 I headed to Richland, MI with my dear friend Joani to speak to a MOPS group. We stayed with her daughter-in-law Kim who is a MOPS Coordinator and son Jeremy in their beautiful farmhouse. Kim and her daughter both have journals. The 45 MOPS moms were awesome and based on their feedback forms and how many got journals, they totally got it! That makes me so happy so see women excited to spend time with God in the midst of the chaos of little ones. Praying they flourish as they spend time with God in the 9 prayer circles.

New Retreat called Pathways & Rhythms

OCT. 15, 2016 - Artist Tamara Peterson and I presented our new retreat called Pathways & Rhythms at St. James Parish in Arlington Heights, IL. I shared the 9 Spiritual Pathways from the book Sacred Pathways and taught attendees how to complete the Life-Giving Rhythms map from the Listen to My Life Maps. Both helped people see how they might best connect with God based on how He made them. In the afternoon Tamara taught Spiritual Art Journaling and the ladies made a canvas the represented their Spiritual Pathway & Life-Giving Rhythms. It was a meaningful day that got everyone thinking about their relationship with God and how they might deepen it.

MOPS Talk in Highland, IN

SEPT. 20, 2016 - I was the kick-off speaker for the MOPS Faith Church in Highland, IN with the "Starry Eyed Moms" talk. These steering team ladies were awesome and I loved the theme T-shirts with Psalm 147:4 on the front. More than 70 kids were in MOPPETS while about 60 moms enjoyed some down time. Despite a week of eye infections, a major life decision (my husband just accepted a job), and 4 talks in 11 days, it turned out to be a pretty good morning. I loved sharing many of the things that have helped me over the last 15 years of mothering. Praying God's light shines out of MOPS leaders all over the world into the hearts of new moms who need friendship and community.


MOPS Talk in Palos Heights, IL 

SEPT. 15, 2016 The MOPS group at Christian Reformed Church in Palos Heights, IL had me in to share a new talk I created called "Starry Eyed Moms" to go with the MOPS theme this year called "We Are The Starry Eyed." I pulled out words from the theme video and we talked about simple ways we can be moms of wonder and kindness, who shine bright in the midst of our crazy lives with kiddos. 

CBS Homeschool Class Workshop

SEPT. 13, 2016 - I taught my first kids class called "Why Quiet Time" in Park Ridge, IL using the kids/teens version with the South Park Community Bible Study Homeschool Class of kids ages 7-12. It was so fun watching them get it! I taught a prayer circle, then we did interaction on what might go in that spot, and they were given time to fill out that circle with a few words. They will complete a journal page weekly during their CBS class as they process their spiritual food from their lesson. If you want to teach kids at your church email i[email protected]@gmail.com for this free PowerPoint.

Seeking God Retreat in Lincoln, IL 

SEPT. 10, 2016 - First United Methodist Church in Lincoln, IL hosted a "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" day retreat. It was a joy to spend the day with their ladies and a few teens. We love how intimate these retreats feel and our favorite part is hearing about how God is working in lives as women share their hearts during the interactive portions. Thank you Rose Paulson and Brad for helping to bring this day together. Thank you Lisa Rigoni from WCIC for the pen/pencil pouches.

Summer Bible Study Talk in Bartlett, IL

JUNE 8 2016 - I kicked off the Village Church of Bartlett's women's Summer Bible Study. All the ladies got journals and I taught them how to use them. Thank you Julie Antioho for bringing this night together and for ordering journals for all your ladies. What a fun idea to have all the women learn how to use their journals over the slower summer months!

Seeking God Retreat in Springfield, IL

MAY 14, 2016 - Tamara Peterson and I headed down to Springfield, IL to spend the day with the ladies of Southside Christian Church for our "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" retreat. We prayed for God's presence and have already heard some great stories of how God was moving in hearts through our time together. Praising Him for his faithfulness! Thank you Anne McClane and your team for organizing this fun day.

Moms Plus Group in Arlington Heights, IL

APRIL 20, 2016 - Moms Plus at St. James Parish in Arlington Heights, IL had me in for the "Making the Invisible Visible" talk. I love helping moms find time for a deep relationship with God amidst their busy lives by teaching them how to Spiritual Circle Journal. It was such a joy to spend the morning with them. Thanks Tina for all your efforts to bring the day together and for helping me set up and break down.

Making the Invisible Visible in St. Charles, IL

APRIL 14, 2016 - Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL asked me to present "Making the Invisible Visible" for their morning and evening Women2Women group of about 75 ladies. It was a pleasure being with them. So many seemed to really enjoy learning more about Spiritual Circle Journaling. Thank you Arrean and Lorie for inviting me to speak.

MOPS Talk in Mt. Prospect, IL

APRIL 6, 2016 - Northwest Covenant's MOPS group in Mt. Prospect, IL asked me to present, "What Makes You Tick?" I shared one of the key pieces of the Sweet Spot equation - which is Unique Core Values. The moms were given the Values assessment and time to do it, so they walked away with their top 10 values by the end of the session. The goal of the talk was to help moms better understand themselves so they can incorporate these values into their every-day life, making them a better mom, wife, and woman.

Seeking God Retreat in Wintrop Harbor, IL 

MARCH 19, 2016 - North Point Church Women's Ministry in Winthrop Harbor, IL hosted our "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" Day Retreat. Lisa Herrin and Rachel Rodriquez had a whole team of amazing women who thought of everything. From making the bathroom cute with lotions, posted verses, and chocolates, to fun raffle prizes, awesome food, and teens who opened up our time with beautiful worship music and helped with technology (thanks Jayce) - there was no detail forgotten. It was so cool to watch God use all these people in their gifting as they created a warm, inviting space for God to move. Very thankful God brought us all together and for all those who played a part in making the day beautiful.

MOPS Talk in Dyer, IN

MARCH 3, 2016 - Faith Church MOPS in Dyer, IN asked me to come down and share the Spiritual Circle Journal. My talk was called "Finding God in the Chaos." I met their Coordinator Cherilyn Klomp at the National MOPS Conference when she stopped by our booth in 2013. The snow was falling some that night, but the roads were good thankfully. It was a great group of ladies. Several moms commented that this talk was just what they needed. Praying God uses the evening and the journal to help these women grow closer to Him.

Mother/Daughter Middle School Retreat at Willow

FEB. 20, 2016 - Beth May, a small group leader from Willow Creek Community Church in Barrington, IL hosted a Mother/Daughter Morning Retreat for middle school age girls and their moms. This was my first time teaching this age group how to listen for God and have a quiet time. I enjoyed using the kids/teens version with them. I pray this sticks with the girls as they grow in their faith. One thing was apparent - moms are looking for opportunities to have special one-one-one time like this with their daughters. One mom's feedback form said, "I spent the most amazing morning with my daughter learning a special way to deepen our relationship with God." Thanking God for his presence and for Beth who stepped out in faith to bring the morning together. Next time we host one of these we will do it on a Friday night and have some sweets involved, like an ice cream sundae bar! 

Seeking God Retreat near Wisconsin Border

NOV. 7, 2015 - The Vine Christian Church in Woodstock,IL hosted a "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" Day Retreat. It was a fun day of connecting with God and each other. Thank you Linda Whyte and your team of ladies for your work creating the space for this retreat. We met Linda in our booth earlier this year at the National Hearts at Home conference.

Day Retreat at a Parish in Arlington Heights, IL

OCT 17, 2015 - St. James Parish in Arlington Heights, IL hosted a "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" Day Retreat for about 40 women. I felt God's presence so fully and could see Him working in hearts as we taught these two new ways to connect with God. Thank you JoAnne Mullen-Muhr and Tina Haisman for all you did to bring this day together. There were so many nice comments. The one that brought tears of joy to my eyes was from a Spiritual Director who spoke up right before lunch. She said I am 62-years-old, I'm a Spiritual Director, and I have seen it all. This is one of the best retreats I have ever attended (and she still had the 2nd half to go)!" Praising God for all He did to make this day happen.

Seeking God Day Retreat at Chicago Church

JUNE 13, 2015 - A Chicago campus of New Life Community Church hosted a "Seeking God in Fresh New Ways" Day Retreat for their women. A big thank you and hug to Natalie Cruz for her efforts to bring the day together. Hoping we might be heading to Pittsburgh, Iowa, and maybe Wisconsin in the months to come thanks to ladies who came in for the event and are now interested in bringing it to their church. Stay tuned if you live in those areas of the country!

Heart of a Leader MOPS Training

MAY 20, 2015 Four retiring South Park Church MOPS Steering Members and I gave a training for the incoming Team called, "The Heart of a Leader." We each taught a leadership quality that has meant a lot to us with tangible examples. Everyone attending made a canvas with a heart graphic I created with the 24 qualities that make up the heart of a good leader. Many of those qualities came from lessons learned by making mistakes in ministry. It was a blessing to get to do this with some dear friends

Wrote Focus on the Family Devotional Download

MAY 2015 During the month of May 12 printable devotionals I wrote for the Focus on the Family Mother's Day Download were available on their website as the free resource of the month. The 20-page download included an article by Lisa-Jo Baker, author of Surprised by Motherhood, and the 9 prayer circles from the Spiritual Circle Journal were incorporated into the devotions. Focus on the Family made them gorgeous! They were created with the busy mom in mind. I hope you got them while they were available!


APRIL 11, 2015 I spoke at the Women's Breakfast at the New Life Community Church at their Nordica campus in Chicago, IL. I shared my story of how God has used Spiritual Circle Journaling as a way to deepen my walk with Him.

Hearts at Home Booth in Bloomington, IL

MAR. 12-14, 2015 Artist Tamara Peterson and I hosted a booth at the National Hearts at Home Conference in Bloomington, IL. It was such a great weekend with awesome keynote speakers Lysa TerKeurst and Dr. Gary Chapman! We both loved getting to talk with and meet so many sweet women. Tamara had a nice variety of art items available and I had pouches, prayer cards, and journals available. The Hearts staff was incredible and I am so thankful for our friend Joani Heavey who helped work the booth. We could not have done it without her!

Chicago Retreat at Techny Towers

JAN. 24, 2015 - Artist Tamara Peterson and I hosted a Chicago area full-day retreat called "Seeking God in Fresh New" at Techny Towers Retreat Center in Northbrook, IL. It was such a fun day of refreshing and relaxing. You can see more retreat pictures on the Spiritual Circle Journal Facebook page.

Angela Thomas at Church in St. Charles, IL

NOV. 21, 2014 - I attended a women's retreat on Friday night at Christ Community Church in St. Charles, IL called "Coming Together." I am pictured with Angela Thomas, the keynote speaker, and her friend Lisa Stridde. I met them both at Hearts at Home, where Angela bought a journal and Lisa ordered one. I hope they enjoy using their journals. They are both true gems! The event was amazing with great music, delicious treats, as well as décor that transported you to a "home-away-from-home" by "Tea for Three Treasures."  www.facebook.com/teaforthreetreasures or on Instagram at #teaforthreetreasures.

MOPS at South Park Church in Park Ridge, IL 

NOV. 19, 2014 - I was one of the breakout speakers for our MOPS group. I spoke on Unique Core Values and helping moms understand how they can thrive vs. just survive the baby and preschool years. I provided a Values Assessment and taught them how to discover their Top 10 Unique Core Values. I shared the journal as a tool to use for "next steps" as they further explored who God made them to be and how He might be directing their lives

Hearts at Home Conference in Rochester, MN

NOV. 7, 2014 - I headed to Rochester, MN for the North Central Hearts at Home Conference. It was just the refilling I needed. Met some new friends in person, including Hearts at Home CEO Jill Savage (pictured at left) and caught up with a few old friends. All the speakers were great, including Keynote Speakers Kathy Koch and Angela Thomas. Thank you Jennifer Grabianski for the last minute invite to room together. It was such a blessing to be there. Tamara and I are seriously considering a booth at the National Hearts at Home Conference in March!

Life Mission Milestone Talk at South Park Church

OCT. 23, 2014 - I had the pleasure of speaking to the women at South Park Church in Park Ridge, IL about their Life Mission and Purpose. Thank you Samantha Pappageorge for asking me to be part of the Milestone series. I felt God was present that evening and I am excited to see what steps he leads women to take as they seek God's purposes for their lives.

Day Retreat in Lake Bloomington

MAY 30, 2014 - Tamara Peterson and I headed down to Lake Bloomington to present our full-day retreat Seeking God...Connecting Through Art & Journaling for the Quest Church ladies retreat. A big thank you to Amy Jo Adams and your team for coordinating the day and making it all run smoothly. We loved getting to know your ladies.

Morning Retreat in Florida

APRIL 12, 2014 - Fifty women gathered in Sarasota, FL for a morning retreat called Finding God in the Busy at Colonial Oaks Baptist Church. This retreat was extra special because it was in my hometown with many family and friends among the attendees. Pat Williams and Susan Lundsmark helped coordinate a wonderful time of food, fun, and fellowship. Thanks to all those who helped in many ways including Anne Bresciani and Linda Cranmer (for opening up with worship music), Jana Vogler (for working the sales table), Tom and Bill Lundsmark (for making a delicious breakfast), Barbara Lundsmark (for gathering so many from your small group), and Colonial Oaks Baptist Church for bringing it all together.

Seeking God in Chicago

FEB. 8, 2014 - About 70-80 women gathered for our full-day Seeking God in Fresh New Ways retreat in the Chicago area. The group was made up of a Community Bible Study (CBS) Leadership Team, Moody Radio listeners, and some mothers, daughters, sisters, and daughter-in-law groups. We had great worship music led by Joy Bork, a solo by Michaela Veller, and some raffle prizes that included a journal, Cheri Keaggy's latest CD, an art journal starter packet and a handmade ornament made by artist Tamara Peterson. Thanks and praise to God for providing the space and filling it to the brim! Thanks to all those who helped bring the day together. Praying the day bears deeper walks with God and fruit!

Day Retreat in Stevenson, AL 

NOV. 16, 2013 - Tamara Peterson and I presented a day retreat called Seeking God...Connecting Through Art & Journaling at Edgefield Missionary Baptist Church in Stevenson, AL. What a fantastic group! Thank you Stacey Crabtree for organizing the event for your ladies. Thrilled the feedback was so positive!


So grateful that when Moody Radio's Midday Connection needed to fill a show they chose our July interview! It reaired Oct 24, 2013 to a large part of the country with a very enthusiastic response again. Very grateful!

Booth at MOPS National Conference

OCT 17-19, 2013 - We hosted a booth at the MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) 2013 National Conference in Kansas City, MI. It was such a pleasure connecting with so many amazing moms with hearts for other women and their families. The last day my retreat partner Tamara Peterson helped ladies create a bookmark with the message God was placed on their heart during the conference. Amanda Huerta won the free journal drawing. Congrats Amanda! Thanks Audrey Shaneyfelt for helping work the booth!

2nd Moody Radio Interview

 OCT 11, 2013 - Tamara Peterson and I appeared on Moody Radio's "This Is The Day" with Nancy Turner to talk about Spiritual Circle Journaling and Spiritual Art Journaling. To see some Spiritual Art Journaling samples created by Tamara visit www.artfulstory.com.

Day Retreat in Lafayette, IN

OCT 5, 2013 - I headed down to Lafayette, IN for a day retreat where I taught the ladies at Sunrise Christian Reformed Church about Spiritual Circle Journaling. Thank you Laura Nettesheim, Kate Cogswell, and Sara Vanderkleed for all you did to make this fun day come together. I loved seeing your ladies share so much of their hearts.

Moody Radio Interview

 WED., JULY 3, 2013 - I appeared with radio hosts Anita Lustrea, Melinda Schmidt, and fellow guest Artist Tamara Peterson on Moody Radio's National Program, Midday Connection. Tamara and I shared two innovative ways of connecting with God called Spiritual Circle Journaling and Spiritual Art Journaling. I walked listeners through how to use a Spiritual Circle Journal and the story behind it. To listen to this interview, click here. 

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