<![CDATA[Kristi Bothur, writer and speaker - Blog]]>Sat, 09 Jan 2016 07:07:31 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Sunshine after the Storm is available!]]>Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:29:59 GMThttp://kristibothur.weebly.com/blog/sunshine-after-the-storm-is-availablePicture
I have been participating in a pretty amazing collaborative writing project over the last several months.  Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide of the Grieving Mother is a collection of writings from over twenty bereaved parents (mostly women, but also a few men) designed to help a grieving mother know that she is not alone and, even though her heart is breaking, she will survive.  The contributors come from a wide variety of experiences (from an early miscarriage up to the death of a school-age child) and a wide variety of spiritual perspectives.  

My contributions are to the chapters about faith and the chapter about giving back to others, and my husband is a contributor to the fathers' section.  A sample from my essay, "Faith and Loss: Finding Your Way Back": 

I am a Christian.  I was raised in a Christian family, I have followed Jesus closely since childhood, and I met my husband in seminary.  I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in God, and ever since my teenage years, I have been committed to sharing the Gospel with others, being absolutely convinced of the truth of God's Word.  I'm the wife of a pastor and a former missionary, and Jesus is my life, in every sense of the word.

Then my daughter died and it almost all fell apart.

Sunshine after the Storm is available on Amazon and for today the Kindle version is FREE.  Praying that it is an encouragement to many!

<![CDATA[Sharing at Mommies with Hope today!]]>Fri, 04 Oct 2013 01:56:39 GMThttp://kristibothur.weebly.com/blog/sharing-at-mommies-with-hope-todayPicture
I'm delighted to share that I'm guest posting on Mommies with Hope today.  Mommies with Hope is a biblically-based support group for women who have experienced the loss of a child.  One of the founders, Teske Drake, is the author of Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow, which a group of friends and I are using for a Bible study right now.  Teske has a 31 Days of Prayer focus on her blog right now, and it has already been an encouragement to me.  Please join me over there this morning and every morning this month!

<![CDATA[Article published on "Still Standing"]]>Mon, 01 Jul 2013 16:39:32 GMThttp://kristibothur.weebly.com/blog/article-published-on-still-standingPicture
Join me over at Still Standing today for an article I wrote about the ocean of grief and those who helped me survive it.  If you are also on this journey,  please check out my other articles here about loss, and feel free to visit our Naomi's Circle website for more information and resources about living through the grief of losing a child.  I'm so sorry we are in this "club" together, but so honored by the strength, grace, and dignity of the friends I have found there.

<![CDATA[What would Jesus tweet?]]>Sat, 18 May 2013 16:59:41 GMThttp://kristibothur.weebly.com/blog/what-would-jesus-tweetPicture
A friend of mine recently posted a link to an article about what genuine Christianity looks like, and it got me thinking about what that looks like in the online world, where, whether you call yourself a "writer" or not, everything is written.  There is no body language to soften a phrase, no opportunity to notice that your words have just offended someone so you can hastily explain what you really meant.  

This passage from Colossians 4 especially came to mind, and I think it has four important guidelines to govern my online communication:  "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful...Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone"  (NIV).

  1. Pray first.  How often do I dash off a blog article, or a Facebook post, or a Tweet, quickly, without much thought and especially without prayer?  Too often!  I need to bathe everything I do in prayer, and my writing is no less important - maybe even moreso in this day of instant communication where your words can reach hundreds, even thousands, in seconds.
  2. Realize how outsiders may perceive you.  A good portion of those my words reach may not share my perspective or my faith.  I need to think about how my words are going to be perceived by someone who does not claim to follow Jesus.  Am I using church and Bible language that obscures my meaning?  Am I saying something flippantly that will be misunderstood by someone who is not in my inner circle?  I understand that the Gospel message may offend people, but let it be the Gospel that offends and not my way of communicating!
  3. Seize opportunities.  There are amazing opportunities to be a positive influence for Christ online.  We can and should take advantage of open doors to speak about truth, to take a biblical stand on social and moral issues, to share the love of Jesus with others.  We don't need to shy away from these to be "safe". 
  4. Season your words with grace.  We can be bold, seizing opportunities, without being obnoxious.  Grace is unmerited favor, what Jesus gives us in salvation.  Let our words be filled with unmerited favor toward our readers, with the goal of knowing how to answer everyone - which implies a conversation, not a monologue.  When we post something on Facebook or on Twitter or in a blog, it shouldn't be just to blast our point of view in the most verbally powerful punch we can deliver.  It should be to invite a grace-filled conversation with others who we can then impact in a personal way, for the glory of God.

How do you integrate your faith with the way you communicate through social media?  Share in the comments!

<![CDATA[On calling myself a writer]]>Thu, 09 May 2013 05:25:32 GMThttp://kristibothur.weebly.com/blog/on-calling-myself-a-writerPicture
I'm a writer.  There, I said it.  Jeff Goins (goinswriter.com) should be proud.

I've been reading a lot of blogs about writing lately (especially Jeff Goins and Michael Hyatt) and have been challenged by them to consider that if I really want to move forward with this whole writing thing, I need to start thinking of myself as, well, a writer.  Which means telling other people that I am a writer...and that is a bit intimidating.  I'm used to connecting what I am with what I get paid for, or with what I spend the greatest amount of time on.  I used to be a teacher, because that was my job and I got paid for it.  When I resigned to stay home with my kids, I ceased being a teacher, at least in my mind.  Oh, I know that I am my children's teacher - even more so because we will begin homeschooling in the fall - but I don't tell people that I am a teacher anymore.

What do I call myself?  I am a mother, a wife, a Christian.  Those are the roles in which I invest my time and energy.  There are many things I enjoy doing - like playing the piano or crocheting or photography - but I don't call myself a pianist or crocheter or photographer.  Partly because I am not particularly skillful at these and partly because they don't occupy that much of my time.

So back to writing.  I don't get paid for it, at least not yet.  I don't spend the better part of my day doing it - how can I with two young children?  I'm no virtuoso, although I am trying to be more skilled at this craft.  So by what means can I claim the title "writer"?  As I've thought about this, four things come to mind.

A passion for words.  One of my favorite songwriters is Michael Card, largely because of how tightly his lyrics play with sounds and words to express deep theological truths.  I love the old hymns for the same reasons. When I was pregnant with my daughter, one of my favorite shower gifts was a book of children's poetry.  The words of great orators like Martin Luther King Jr. are thrilling to me.  When I was little, my favorite games were Boggle and Scrabble.  My idea of fun was reading enough books over the summer to win a prize from the library.  One of my favorite book purchases after college was a big visual dictionary with illustrations of little known words like what you call the tip of your shoelace (an aglet).  I'm a word geek all the way.

A dream of writing.  My favorite books when I was a teenager were about women who longed to be writers.  The Anne of Green Gables series, Julie by Catherine Marshall. When I was in high school, I found a book about writing for children and adolescents and read it from cover to cover dozens of times.  I took writing classes whenever I could.  I read magazine articles and think about how I could write as well as that author, and what my topic could be.  I go through the day with my children with an eye to what I could write about later (they are still young enough not to care).  I get a thrill when someone compliments me on my writing because it tells me that maybe, just maybe, my dream is within reach.

A decision to just do it.  Sometime in the last few years, I decided to stop dreaming and start doing.  I began blogging.  Then I began writing an online monthly devotion.  Now I have more ideas and works-in-progress than I have time for, some of which might just make it into the public, where my fourth idea comes into play.

A longing to change the world for the better.  I think that whoever said, "The pen is mightier than the sword" might have had this in mind as well.  I am captured by the power of words to do great good or great evil.  The apostle James said as much when he wrote about the power of the tongue.  The whole Bible is a testimony to the amazing ability to use words to express the very thoughts of the Creator - so much that Jesus himself was called the Word of God.  I have been so influenced by the words of others that it is almost intoxicating to consider the influence I could have with my writing.

Intoxicating and scary.  For what is a writer but a teacher as well?  And the apostle James had some strong words of warning for those who call themselves teachers, for "we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1, NIV). I can't help but think that is true for writers, too, as we influence the world for better or for worse - not only through published writing, but also on blogs like this one, and even in Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.

So as I begin calling myself a writer, it is with a bit of trepidation as I consider the power of the unleashed word, the responsibility to handle it well, and the potential for God to use it for great good.  And it is with a lot of excitement to see where this road leads.

When did you start to think of yourself as a writer, and why?  Share in the comments below!

<![CDATA[How to write when you don't have time to write]]>Thu, 02 May 2013 20:00:30 GMThttp://kristibothur.weebly.com/blog/first-postHow does a busy mom find time to write?  For that matter, how does anyone when it is not your 9-5 job?  When you love words and the way they sound knocking against each other and their amazing potential for changing the world, writing feels, well, fun.  And "fun" needs to wait until the work is done.  And the work is never done.  

So...how to find time to write?  I start by thinking about writing.  This is a habit I've gradually formed, one of watching the events in my life and going on around me, wondering what lesson can be pulled from it, or how the humor could be conveyed in an article.  I tinker with titles in my mind and play with scenarios.  Not all of this will come to fruition, but it trains my mind to think like a writer.

Then, I keep an ongoing plan for my writing.  I used to keep this in a spiral notebook, but now I do it in Evernote.  One of the notebooks I've created is Writing Ideas.  I have one note with a list of ideas and then notes with outlines for the ideas I want to begin working on.  

Third, I don't restrict my writing to my laptop computer.  I write everywhere.  I keep a notebook (the old fashioned kind) and my tablet (the electronic kind) with me.  That running commentary going in my head?  Well, when I'm out running errands I'll sit in the car for a minute and jot down a note about it.  Sometimes I'll scribble out a whole draft for a post and sometimes it's just an outline or a title.  But I get it down where I can work with it later.

Finally, I grab moments where I can.  During naptime.  Waiting at the pediatrician's office.  In the quiet moments when the children have gone to bed.  I try to be disciplined (and probably need to be moreso!) not to use every quiet moment for writing, to the neglect of spending time in conversations with those around me, but I watch for the moments that would otherwise drift away.

How do you find or make time to write?  Share in the comments and let's encourage each other!