Music Hath Charms

I turned 44 on Saturday. In the past, birthdays have been somewhat of a disappointment for me. I often feel like my birthday needs to be some magnificient celebratory day where I do something out of the ordinary, but that rarely happens. Life goes on. I work, I clean, I do the mom thing and birthdays tend to be like any other day.

Saturday was one of those ordinary birthdays, except for one thing. This time I came into my birthday after spending a week with some of my dearest friends, in my favorite place, doing what I love best, and surrounded by my favorite musicians. The Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat held April 20-23, 2010 in Zion National Park is still filling me with love and light.

I feel as if God gave me the greatest birthday present possible. It was incredible watching Him work His miracles in the lives of the 15 participants and to know it wasn’t us as presenters — that it was the Lord and His heavenly hosts at work in the lives of these women. I came away with 15 new friends whom I love dearly and a deeper relationship with my own daughter. Not only that, but I have an entire DVD full of gorgeous music.

From a young age music has been a critical part of my life. Music filled our home. My mother made sure of that. I started piano lessons at 5 (even though you’d never know it now). I love music. It expresses the deepest feelings of my heart. And no one captures the essence of what I’ve felt over the last couple weeks the way Sheldon Pickering and Jamie Bartschi do. Below are a few videos of them performing at the retreat. I thank the Lord for bringing these talented people into my life. What a priceless treasure!

Sheldon Pickering & Jamie Bartschi perform, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Sheldon Pickering & Jamie Bartschi playing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Jamie singing my theme song, “I Believe I Can Fly.”

More music is posted on my Power of Gratitude blog here.

Unearthing the Treasure in Your Own Backyard

Tuesday night, Judy Hansen and I talked about “Unearthing the Treasure in Your Own Backyard.” If you missed that call, an audio is up of this powerful 30-minute presentation where I share how I literally transformed my backyard into treasure. 🙂

This call is an itty-bitty taste of what you can expect in Zion National Park, April 20-23rd. Those who attend will come away transformed, filled with vision, purpose and the courage to live in alignment with their God-given missions.  How do I know that? Because it happens for me every time I go to Zion National Park with Judy Hansen and Lisa Rae Preston! These women are incredible! For years, I had a big dream that churned in my soul, but I never had the courage to really make it happen … to step forward into the unknown … until I spent a week with Judy Hansen in September 2009.

I came away with vision, faith, and enough fearlessness to do things I’d never done before. In December 2009, I took my good friend Lisa Rae Preston to stay a week with Judy, and the same thing happened for her!  The three of us came away with a vision of a world dotted with righteous women, standing in God’s power, in their own unique way, illuminating the path for others to follow, and inviting Christ to come light up this world!

We’ve seen it; we know it can happen!  And we’ve seen that the women who come to this event in April are pioneers of what’s to come. With all my heart, I want for you what happened for me! I want you to dust off that dream that God placed in your heart long ago. Bring it to Zion and let us help you midwife it into existence!

Please pray about whether YOU should be with us in April. There’s still time to book flights. I got a really good deal straight from Chattanooga to St. George on There’s still time to stay at Cliffrose. Or if you’re interested, a couple of the girls attending are renting a house, and it can be more economical to stay there while they still have space.

This is your chance to enjoy four days in an intimate, inspirational setting with two of the finest musicians on the planet, myself, Judy Hansen, and Lisa Rae Preston. Together we’re here to help 20-30 women birth their dreams.

If you’d like to be one of them and receive a full year of support thereafter, go to today and reserve your spot!

To listen to “Unearthing the Treasure in Your Own Backyardgo here.

Oh, and just for reading this blog, you can save $200 off admission! Just use referral id MEPN.

Women: God’s Secret Weapon to Preserve Our Nation

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” -John Adams

My father believes that you can determine a person’s intelligence by how far into the future they plan. If all they work for is a party weekend, that tells you something about them. But if the person has a 1-year, 5-year, or 10-year plan, that also reflects something about their intelligence and their character.

I would take what my father said a step further and link morality with forward-thinking as well. A person who has a clear sense of right and wrong tends to think further into the future. They long to leave a legacy, to make the world a better place, and to share the blessings they enjoy. They think about the type of nation their children and grandchildren will experience. They also tend to care more about ideals and working toward them. This could be the reason John Adams said the U.S. Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.

Our Founding Fathers knew that “government is not reason; it is not eloquence; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master” (George Washington). The Founders put into place clear checks and balances to control government and to foster individual responsibility among its citizens.

Shortsighted individuals will use governmental force to satisfy their own immediate needs and wants. Forward-thinking individuals realize that when we abdicate personal responsibility to the government, we enslave future generations. Thus the need for a moral and religious people – people who will not use government to take from one group of people and give it to others.

In my opinion, there is only one way to reclaim our country and that is to instill moral and religious values into the current and future generations. And the best way I know to impact generations is through women. It is said that a good woman impacts four generations. Think about that! That’s her children, her grandchildren, her great grandchildren and her great great grandchildren. As William Russ Wallace wrote, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
I have found this to be true. Today, I and thousands of others are still being influenced by my fifth great grandmother, Dicey Langston (a 14-year-old girl who saved an entire village during the Revolutionary War). Women who are clear about who they are and what they stand for, who lean upon the Lord and reflect His light, impact the world in powerful ways. Their influence radiates, ripples and cascades through time.

Imagine if we were to bring together thousands of these women so they could learn from, support and encourage one another. Then they would no longer be a single prism standing alone reflecting God’s love and light to the world. They would be part of a glorious chandelier of prisms, tied together in a way that could not be ignored.

Women coming together to light the world could be part of what Isaiah saw in his vision of the last days:

Isaiah 60:1-4,8

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.  Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.  Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?”

In an ever-darkening world, women are God’s secret weapon. As we wake up and get clear about who we are and our relationship to Him, His light shines through us. Then as we encourage and support one another, we “arise and shine. Our light is come, for the glory of the Lord rises upon us.”

As we light up the world, leaders of nations will take notice, and good people everywhere will flock to the Light like doves to the windows.

If you would like to join with other like-minded Christian women across denominational lines to make a difference, we want to hear from you!  Join us in April 2010 for the Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat.

You Are Amazing!

I’d like to invite you to join me in Zion’s National Park in April 2010 for the “Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat.” I’m so excited about this retreat because I’m excited about meeting you! Whether one woman attends, 10, 50 or 100, it doesn’t matter to me because I know the power of one woman. Women influence generations. Have you ever thought about that? They say statistically a women influences 4 generations.

When I think about that, I think about my own mother and grandmother. They were wonderful women who were authentic. They are and were these giving, loving, good women who influenced their children and grandchildren. I would not be who I am today without them, and if there is any influence that I make in this world, it’s greatly attributable to my mother. A good woman influences not only her own family, but also all those they go forth and influence.

So whether you come to this event just to impact your family for the better, or your friends or your community, or maybe you want to go nationwide or globally with your message, that’s what this event is about. It’s about helping you have the reach you were born to have.

I want to introduce you to my team. These women are amazing. And I would not be doing this retreat without them because each one of them has a gift and a message to share that dovetails perfectly with what I’m trying to do. I think our retreat is a microcosm of what will happen for you. I hope you will come to this event and find other women who you can work with, who you click with, who want to do what you’d like to do, and who will assist you and hold you accountable.

The video above will share more with you about our event. I hope you’ll watch it whether you plan to attend or not. You are amazing and I want you to know how much God loves you and how much He believes you can make a difference!

Do you have friends who might like to attend this event with you? If so, learn how both you and they can save when you come together! Email me at for details. If you’re thinking about coming, please do leave a comment below. We’re trying to get a feel for how many people are interested. To reserve your spot or to learn more, go here.

Are You Stressed Out?

Do you ever feel like there’s too much on your plate? The stress is getting to you and sometimes even making you snippy with others?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our propensity to judge others – to look at another person’s decisions, character traits, and even how they choose to apply inspiration – and judge them — especially when we’re stressed.

I learned a lot about not judging and about perspectives while researching an 80-year-old mystery for my novel, An Uncertain Justice, To write the book, I studied various accounts of a murder. They were from newspapers, books, family records, and personal recollections. Interestingly, most saw the event differently. In endeavoring to be as accurate as possible, I assumed that each person who gave an account was telling the truth as they remembered it.

I did not assume that one person was lying or another exaggerating, but only that they all were somehow telling the truth as they perceived it. This enabled me to put together a richer story, and I believe, solve a mystery. I began to understand that truth is a composite of perspectives.

We all look at life through our own lens of life experiences, backgrounds and beliefs. We filter everything we see and experience through those lenses. That includes how we look at other people’s actions.

jesus_mary__marthaIn Luke 10:38-42, there’s an account of Jesus visiting Martha and her sister Mary. In the account Martha is “cumbered about much serving.” In other words, Martha is stressed out with all the tasks on her plate. She’s slaving over a hot stove, trying to make the house presentable for the Master, and doing all she knows how to do to serve Him.

While she’s doing this, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him teach her about the gospel. This is a rare opportunity for women of the day. Women of that period were not allowed to discuss religious matters with men. 

At some point, Martha comes to Jesus and says, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.”

Jesus answers her, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.”

Instead of judging Martha or Mary in this incident, what if we see the truth of it as Jesus is seeing it? He knows both their hearts. Time and again, we read in the Bible where Jesus perceives people’s thoughts. He knows what both Martha and Mary are thinking. He’s seeing that Martha is going above and beyond to do everything she knows how to do. He sees that this is making her stressed and worried – “troubled.” He sees that Mary is taking advantage of a rare opportunity to sit at His feet and learn about the things of eternity. 

He brings to Martha’s attention that she has a choice. She doesn’t “have” to stress over dinner. She doesn’t “have” to make the house perfect. She’s chosen to do those things, while Mary has chosen to be at the Master’s feet. He’s pointing out that the dinner will be eaten and the house will get dirty again, but it’s not every day you can sit at the feet of the Creator of worlds and learn from Him personally. That experience can never be taken away from Mary.

It’s interesting to note that in her state of stress, Martha has shifted to judgment. We all tend to do this. How many times have you been left to clean up a mess and gotten irritated that no one is helping you? I know I have!

In her stressed state, Martha is judging Mary as lazy. She’s also putting herself on a pedestal as a hard worker, a martyr who has to do so much. Are you noticing the “do” versus “be” words in this story? Martha is convinced that she has to be doing while Mary is content in simply being at the Master’s feet.

I’ve been like Martha a good portion of my life. Oh, I’m not some dutiful immaculate housekeeper by any stretch! But I’ve been a workaholic. I’ve felt that unless I’m doing something, I’m not valuable as a person. I had to realize two things. 

  • First, I have a choice. I didn’t have to do all the things I chose to do. They didn’t make me a better person, and God didn’t require them of me.
  • Second, I had to understand that being who God created me to be is more important than doing a bunch of stuff. 

Once I really got these two things, I finally found peace and joyful abundance. Busy isn’t always better. Most of the time it’s masking the fact that we’re not being who we were born to be! We’re so busy doing things, we never take the time to step back, reflect and truly evaluate what’s going to last!

When you finally understand who you are at the core — more than your gifts and your talents – but the very essence of who God created you to be, stress melts away. Life becomes joyful, effortless and abundant!

I challenge you, to re-evaluate all the things you think you “have to do.” Do you really have to do them? How would spending more time filling your cup, feeding your spirit, and connecting with God be choosing the better part that would never be taken away from you?

If you’re interested in living with less stress and more joy, please join me April 20-23, 2010 in Zion’s National Park for one of the most life-transforming weeks of your life. Experience the essence of who you are as a daughter of God, in a place where His hand is evident in every mountain peak and canyon. Create life-long relationships with other women who will support, encourage and celebrate the beauty in you! Learn more about this Christian women’s retreat today.

You Matter to God! Live Your Destiny

The Light the World Team: Janice Erickson, Lisa Rae Preston, Marnie Pehrson, and Judy Hansen

The Light the World Team: Janice Erickson, Lisa Rae Preston, Marnie Pehrson, and Judy Hansen

This Christmas I’ve had the privilege of viewing splendid Christmas lights across the U.S. I spent an evening walking around Salt Lake City with my dearest friends, enjoying the incredible array of lights, and the Cristus overlooking a beautiful Nativity scene. Later, my family and I visited the Opryland Hotel and enjoyed their lights and decorations. With every display of lights or even a simple Christmas tree, I’ve thought about their symbolism.

Each of those bulbs represents you and me and our efforts to lead others to Christ. A lot of times we think we have to do everything. We have to be the one to shine brightly, to make a difference, and we sometimes feel alone in the process. But in reality the tree is decorated with a multitude of lights. We are not alone in our efforts. If we will join forces with others who want to make a positive impact, we can light up this world in a display like no one has ever seen before. But that requires laying aside our differences and coming together in friendship and unity across denominational lines. It’s time we did our part in fulfilling Christ’s plea to the Father that we might be one even as He and His Father are one! (John 17:11)

Think of the evergreen as our Savior Jesus Christ. He’s alive, vibrant and eternal. But, in this world, few see Him. They’re so busy with earning a living, paying the bills, and pursuing their own interests, that they rarely see Him. Perhaps this is why John referred to Him as the “light [which] shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5). But string that tree with lights and an amazing thing occurs – people not only see the tree, but are drawn to it.

Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN

Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN

Each of us with our own unique talents, abilities and experiences represent a colorful shining light on Christ’s tree. The world can’t see Him, but they CAN see you and me! As we lay aside our differences, release our fear, pride, jealousy and insecurities, we can come together in Him and share His love and light with an ever-darkening world.

This is what Lighting the World is all about. Jesus told us to stop lighting candles and putting them under bushel baskets. He admonished us to keep oil in our lamps so we could light the way for others. He challenged us to be like glowing cities atop hills that cannot be hid. What’s more, He told us to seek first the Kingdom of God and all those material concerns like food, shelter and raiment would be added by Him. The world has it backwards my friends. Everyone’s waiting to have enough money to make a difference. Make a difference and your needs will be met!

I’m asking you to join me in lighting the greatest, grandest Christmas tree that has ever existed. Not a physical one, but a spiritual one — one that brings Christians together in critical mass to transform this world and prepare it for His second coming! It all starts today with you. Step into your own divine destiny, your own unique color shining brightly alongside others.

If this concept intrigues you, we’d love to have you join us in person at a live event with a couple hundred other women who are ready to light the world in a brilliant way. I’d like to personally invite you to join me April 20-23rd, 2010 for the “Light the World: Birthing Your Destiny Retreat” in Zions National Park. We’ll have wonderful music, speakers, entertainers, and guides there who will help you

  • Discover your divine destiny,
  • Catch a vision of who you are and your relationship to your Father in Heaven.
  • Remove any blocks, fears or insecurities that have been holding you back, and
  • Come away with unstoppable vision and courage to make it happen.

Are you ready to birth your destiny? Join us in spring 2010! More information will be coming soon. In the meantime please drop me a comment or an email if you’d like to be there.