Eps. 228: Guest, Tiffany Dawn; on Leaving Her Tiny Christian Bubble

Tiffany invited me to share about Devotions for her YouTube and podcasting series. It’s for Season Three of her program called Outgrowing the Good Christian Girl podcast. So, I couldn’t pass up the chance to turn the tables and interview her for Spark My Muse.

• Please remember you can be an ongoing Patron (supporter) by going here ⬇️:


You are invited to encounter the spiritual formation book I wrote called The Wild Land Within
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I’m happy to meet up with your group to say “hello” and answer your questions and hear your thoughts.

• You can find out about my publisher Broadleaf Books here

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Patron supporters chip-in a bit each month to help me offset my expenses and continue creating episodes. Supporting this way ($5 +) entitles you to many posts, perks, and goodies that unlock once you begin.

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Soul School – Lesson 46: The Story of How “Heathens” Received my Son

Welcome to Spark My Muse!

Welcome to SOUL SCHOOL.

These brief “lessons” are released each Wednesday
(on “Hump Day” aka Midweek).

• Come back FRIDAYS for intriguing guest conversations!

Spark My Muse is heard in 159 countries and costs hundreds of dollars out-of-pocket each month to create, produce, and host online. Without help, it will go bye bye.

Thank you for ANY amount,
 even $5 or $10, you can give today.


Scroll down for the AUDIO PLAYER to hear the epsiode.

Today, I share a personal story as springboard for something about compassion offered in context.

Many of you might not know that my husband and I have a special needs son named Nathan. (We also have a normally-developing daughter named Gabrielle, who we usually call “Ellie”. See photos of both of them below.) It’s been very arduous over the years with Nathan’s myriad of challenges and a strain on the whole family in many ways. To those friends, teachers, family, and others (too many to name) who have been helpful and supportive over the years, we say “thank you”.

What I am sharing today relates mainly to Nathan finding rich connection, friendship, or being truly accepted among his self-identified Christian/church going peers. Acceptance is a challenge for many typically developing children and teens. Children and teens by nature are immature, so I don’t (and didn’t) expect things to go perfectly!

His story is far from unique and neither is my pain as his parent watching it unfold. In a Christian setting, we’d like to think that rejection doesn’t happen too much because children might be influenced by church teachings and leadership. Or, Children and teens might be influenced by their Jesus-loving parents to act in ways that loving receive others with equality, but that was not our son’s experience.

When “being a mascot” is the best your child can hope for in terms of acceptance (that is to say that being ostracized is normal and being treated as a ” ‘Hey there little buddy!’ mascot” is a more rare but rather humiliating experience), your context as a family, how you help your child cope, and who shows up as your salvation, can take a surprising turn.

This personal story is the springboard for a deeper reflection today: about how we find our way in the world, make life better for ourselves and others, and maybe find some healing in the process.

What our family’s experiences showed me was that we can provide for others best out of the context from which we come, eventually. Examining those needs, hurts, and context can (possibly) yield a harvest of “good fruit”, eventual healing, and service to others. And maybe (with some new awareness), as we become more mature we can be increasingly mindful to ways we distance ourselves from people we fear. We also distance ourselves from people who unconsciously reflect parts our own weakness or insecurities back to us, and sometimes we distance ourselves from others we deem un-preferred to our sensibilities (or our cultures’  sensibilities) and are unlike us. If we can begin to see this, it’s a start. 

• Thanks for listening today! Blessing and peace.

See the show notes below for my two previous fantastic conversations on the theology of disability and hospitality from Dr. Thomas Reynolds. He offers some truly inspiring and enlightening things in these areas that are likely to be completely new ground for you and your community.


(Share a snippet of audio by clicking the Clammr app below. It’s a rock star upgrade!)


This is Nathan.

Pictured in photo: Nathan, his friend Cori, Nathan’s sister Ellie, and Luna–our dog.
A little bit about Nathan: Nathan loves to make videos on his youtube channel about trains, how-to videos, and animation videos. He loves working at his part-time job (large scale yard work), spending time with friends, making things from soda cans, drawing, playing with Luna, and coming up with fanciful business ideas. He also enjoys posting on his Instagram account. You can follow him on those outlets and encourage him, if you’d like. He loves connecting with new friends and fans. (And if you send him train video footage or interesting video script ideas he might try to create new videos with them.)

Nathan’s video channel trailer:

More on the the study and theology of disability and hospitality.

Tom Reynolds – Part I

Tom Reynolds – Part II

Thank you so very much for listening today.

Hear other recent episodes:

Pick an option below!

Episode 7 – Vine Grafting; special guest Ray Hollenbach

Show Notes Episode 7 – On Grafting Grape Vines and Special Guest Ray Hollenbach

Click to listen now:

This episode was brought to you by…

Life As Prayer: Revive Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety

Learn about 16th century Brother Lawrence and how his understanding of God’s presence continues to affect lives today.


It’s a fact: the plants that produce wine grapes don’t come from seeds. You can’t “sow grapes”. More on that soon.

And later, Student of Jesus blogger and disciple-maker Ray Hollenbach and I talk about the fruit of the spirit (debunking the most common myth about it), and a little bit about the Vineyard church he is a part of, and what his “Deeper” seminars and workshops are all about.


Wine segment:

Wine grape plants don’t come from seeds, so how are vineyards created?

There are two main ways commercial growers get their fields ready for a grape harvest:

The first way is to plant seedlings taken from healthy and mature grape vines. This means that a harvest of good grapes for wine is 4-5 years away. Booo.

The second way is to use an older and mature vineyard and graft in (attach) new plants into the vine.

They prune down the top of the plant. They chop it nearly down to the ground, and expose some of the top to the vine stem. Then, they graft living plants into it. The grafting process means that whole new varieties of grapes in just one year, using the original root system to obtain all the necessary nutrients. Grafted in plants can also inoculate older vines against certain diseases with disease resistant pants (usually hybrid seedlings) that make the whole system healthier.


It can cost $150, per plant, to graft in new vines and it’s done in a precise sort of way with notching the root stem, adding in plants and sealing them together so they merge.

(how to graft plants and trees)

Grafting plants has been done for thousands of years. In the bible, the church is compared, by the apostle Paul, to a wild olive plant grafted into an olive tree. The first audience hearing Paul’s words would understand this word picture: the church is an introduction of something very new. Something able to impart a whole new vitality into the current understanding of religion and closeness with God.

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 Sparking your Muse

An interview with Ray Hollenbach

Ray Hollenbach writes at Students of Jesus.com

He does the Deeper Seminar nationwide.

View his YouTube Videos on his new channel.

Interview Notes –

Minute: 4:30

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


“Fruit of the Spirit is not a gift that we get; but come as a result or outcome of natural (spiritual) health”. -Ray Hollenbach

6:30 – How parenting matures us in the same way that “making disciples” matures us.

7:30 – The Impossible Mentor 

8:30 –

“The goal of the Christian Life is NOT to get to heaven.”


The Vineyard Church

• John Wimber

10:06 –

Fuller Seminary

George Eldon Ladd 

Dallas Willard

Richard Foster

Eugene Peterson

NT Wright


Grape Vines




“Jesus taught practically and transpositionally.”

(i.e. interacting with the transcendent in a practical way)


Student of Jesus Videos

I hope you enjoyed the podcast!
I’d like to hear from you. Please, take this short 30-second survey.

Spark My Muse

Find your Niche in 5 Minutes [VIDEO]

a niche

I made this video below because it’s hard to secure a niche.

Getting your writing starting or getting your business going requires that you identify your unique niche to do well. As you draw your distinctions, you stand out.

Most everybody agrees on that, but rare is the precise advice on how to make that happen.
No more.

I worked to create a method that is simple and quick.

Don’t continue in your business or writing pursuits without nailing down the perfect, and more importantly–the specific–niche for you. It’s crucial to help you promote what you are doing well. It’s important to gain the traction you need to really succeed. I have all the details to make drilling down a snap.

More more thing! The great part about HOW I worked this out for us…my “purple cow” as Seth Godin puts it…is the affiliate sharing program integrated in.

[I’m not going to mince words. It’s really generous. Most affiliate programs give you a 10% sharing reward. Mine is 50%. So, not only can you gain some useful knowledge by viewing the short Tututorial, at a very reasonable price, but once you share the video tutorial, you can reap a hefty 50% reward each time someone pays to watch it. Extra cash is good, right? Exactly.]

Below is the preview. (To be an affiliate partner, and help me spread the word and also line your pockets, follow the link button in the video screen to sign up at youreeeka.com.)

So here it is: The video!

To watch on YOUTUBE click HERE.

The preview gives you the method in basic terms. Downloadable Learning Materials (worksheets, see sidebar) are free once you pay to view the tutorial. They assure the success of the method!

Would you pay just $2.99 to nail down your niche in a few minutes? Trust me, it’s WORTH IT. (please pass along this article to anyone you know who’s a writer or who’s starting a business.

The password for the Free companion learning materials is shown the Tutorial. See what you think!

[FYI-This may not be viewable on a mobile device. Use link to access the video on my channel.]

Video followup: Moms Don’t Wait for that Book Deal

Last week in this post, I told you about some of the problems with blogging to get a book deal and the misconceptions that surround the industry of book publishing.

I mentioned that I would be speaking more about ways to make money writing that don’t include some of the typical stuff–like snagging a big book deal, freelance writing, or selling ads on your website. Below is the preview of the first installment–it’s in video form.

There will be much more and we’ll go into depth too.

This won’t be something to read or watch and then move on from. You’ll get to dive into your particular situation and find some answers!

In addition to video content and some related blog posts, I’ll be creating some speedy worksheet downloads that will help with the process.

Here’s a supplemental piece for this video! Is is Free? You bet.

View: worksheet


Now for the amazing part.

From the get-go you can make passive income from this series…Right now.

It’s 50/50 profit split.

Just watch the video below and embed it on your website. (twitter and Facebook shares work too)

Here’s the Affiliate link, to take part in the income portion. It only takes a moment to sign up.

This video is a PREVIEW to the introduction of the series. The first video goes into the 2 BIG RULES needed to  be successful as a writer on the side. Do you have to be a mom or a Christian to view it or use the advice?

Nope. That’s just my niche for this endeavor.

Start by watching the preview. For less than a taco to can see the first video in what will be a super helpful series. Then, if you want to be part of the profits, embed it on your website. Only TWO people have to view it for you to make your money back. (That’s the beauty of a 50/50 split!)

Then passive income starts rolling in for you. Sweet, right?

(These will not be available on YOUTUBE. So, come back soon.)


Once you watch the video, think about the two rules as they relate to you and write down YOUR answers. Feel free to share them here too, if that gives you a boost. If you link to your website, we’ll visit.