Hump Day Hiatus Starts Today!

Hump Day Hiatus-Camel


Welcome to Hump Day Hiatus!


What is Hump Day Hiatus you ask? Well, after doing some quick graphics every day for 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting in January and realizing I sometimes need a break and a quick pick-me-up during the day or week, I’ve decided to create a graphic, accompanied by song/video, and scripture each week. These quick devotionals, if you want to call them that, will be available every Wednesday as a mid-week pick-YOU-up for meditating on the Word, to worship, and to take a break from your busy day/week.


For those of you who may not know the backstory about how When We Listen got its name, here’s the Cliff Notes version about it. After hearing the Lord direct me to give a kidney to a total stranger back in 2014 and hearing many people tell me, “I’m so glad you listened!”, I realized when we TRULY listen to what He’s trying to tell us, our lives can be transformed into something beyond our wildest imaginations.


When I felt Him again calling me to do something “crazy”, like starting a blog, I thought long and hard about a name. I kept hearing those words, “so glad you listened” and thought that’s what it needs to be about….listening. Hence, When We Listen was born and I’ve been trying to listen ever since.


So, as I listen to worship music for many, many hours during the week, I thought, “what if I take the words, When We Listen and add to them what can happen when we do?” Many of the thoughts were prompted by songs I was listening to at the time, so I’m adding the YouTube video (if there is one) of the song for you to listen and worship with during your day. When We Listen, Something WILL Happen Every Time!


My prayer for this series and for each of you is the same as When We Listen’s foundational scripture: James 1:22 – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.


Here is the first of what I hope will be many Hump Day Hiatuses (is that even a word?)!!!!! Read. Listen & Watch. Pray. Listen again. Enjoy!

Read When We Listen……


 Listen & Watch Third Day’s Your Words…….


Pray God’s Word…….

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

~Matthew 24:35~


Listen Again….what is He saying to you?


I would love to hear from you and if you like receiving a little “hiatus” during your Hump Day! Comment below.

The Day After: How to Handle the Letdown Following Major Life Events

The Day After

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1~


 So, you’re coming off of Christmas, a new year, 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, and maybe another big event in your life and all of a sudden you feel deflated, letdown, almost depressed. Why is that?


Or maybe you’ve been through something more severe like the death of a loved one, hearing news about you or someone you know having a life-threatening disease, or survived a natural disaster. What happens now?


These are real feelings and emotions documented in a plethora of circumstances: Post-race letdown (runners), Post-election blues (politicians), Post-wedding depression, Postpartum depression (mothers after giving birth), Post-event blues, sadness, depression, or suicidal, etc.


The good news is there are actually several scientific reasons for these feelings and some ways to avoid or cope with them.


The Science Behind Letdown


Have you ever had a big goal you were trying to reach? Maybe running a marathon or planning a wedding? You should feel elated when you reach your goal, right? Then why the day after you accomplish a big goal or celebrate a milestone in your life do you feel so down? This is known as a Dopamine Letdown. When we are working towards a big goal our brains produce more dopamine in order to see the end result and get our bodies to move toward achieving the goal.


What about being active in an organization, possibly holding a leadership position, and then your time is over and you go back to just being “one of the guys” (or gals). This is known as a Serotonin Letdown. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for our feelings of happiness. Once your tenure of leadership is finished, feelings of being “important” suddenly turn to inadequacies and you feel down about yourself and your circumstances.


How about stumping your toe or twisting an ankle, but you just keep going because you have stuff to do,…..ain’t nobody got time for that, right? Then, when you do finally stop, you realize you are in tremendous pain. This is an Endorphin Letdown. Endorphins kick in when our bodies are hurt and diminish the perception of pain. Once we calm down, the endorphins subside and we REALLY feel the pain. Ouch!


Lastly, have you ever had a close relationship and then lost confidence in the person to the point you couldn’t trust in them any longer? This is an Oxytocin Letdown. Oxytocin is released when we hug or kiss someone and when we “connect” with people we trust. When that trust is broken or feelings toward someone falter, oxytocin levels drop and we feel down or sad about the situation.


You didn’t expect to get a science lesson on hormones and neurotransmitters in today’s post did you? Hang with me, I will turn this back to God in just a moment.


After experiencing several of these situations, I realized I’ve experienced “letdowns” way more than I realized to and started wondering why It happens and if it could be avoided or dealt with in some way.


Recently I experienced two “letdowns” that prompted this post. One was planned and one was not.


The first I sort of expected. I’ve done 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting 10 times with our church, so I’ve come to expect somewhat of a letdown on day 22.


For 21 days I’m up extra early to listen to a prayer service, praying intently for something or someone in my life, and going “all in”. My dopamine levels are probably very high. When day 22 comes and there is no prayer service, no focused prayer time, I realize it’s all on me to keep up the momentum, so I experience a period of letdown. (Granted the periods have gotten shorter, because I recognize the pattern, but they are still there.)


Secondly was the sudden death of my Father. Although not totally unexpected, it was a shock to me physically and mentally. My hormones went into overdrive! The day I got the news, my endorphins kicked into high gear allowing me to get packed in record time, drive two hours to my house, repack, and travel another hour and a half to reach my Mother. Once I knew she was “okay” the endorphins subsided and I really felt the physical pain of what was happening. My oxytocin levels must have skyrocketed because everything and everyone felt like love to me in those first few days. My dopamine levels were high while trying to help Mom get things in order for the visitation and cremation, only to plummet the day after.


Whether expected or not, times of letdown after major life events (happy ones or sad ones) can really mess with us if we’re not careful.

Letdown quote


So what should you do if you experience a period of letdown in your life? Glad you asked! Here are some suggestions that have helped me get through some of life’s letdowns (planned and unplanned ones).


If your potential letdown is one that is “planned”, like a wedding, birth of a baby, getting something published, running a marathon, etc. then you can do something on the front end to minimize the post-event blues.


Planned Events


Examples of planned events could be:

  • Weddings
  • Birth of a baby
  • Running a race (or other athletic event)
  • Landing a big business deal
  • Completing a big project
  • Anything that demands concentrated endurance over a period of time


Steps You Can Take


Before the Event


  1. Pray, pray, and then pray some more! Praying for God’s guidance before and throughout the event will first set your heart and mind on Him and the eternal, rather than just on the momentary event. By the way, this is a Before, During, and After tip!


  1. I’m a planner. I’ve gotta have a plan! I’ve learned my plan does not always go as “planned” and that’s okay. But, if there is a plan in place, at least you know where to start! Develop a plan of how you want to get through this life event….then go with the flow if it doesn’t go according to “your plan”.


During the Event


  1. Pray, pray, continue to pray! Pray for God to give you strength and energy to see this life-event through to the end. Ask Him to show you where He is leading you through it all.


  1. Spread out your energy. Remember that old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, well it applies here too. If all of your energy is tied up with that one event, then other things will suffer. That’s just a fact Jack! If you spread out your energy and don’t hyper-focus only on “the” event, then you’re less likely to have a severe letdown once the event it over and other responsibilities will not need as much attention when you return to “normal”.


  1. Step back and breathe. Try to find some “alone time” during the event to just breathe. You do not have to run 24/7! Enjoy the journey girlfriend! You can’t enjoy this enormous life-altering event if you’re stressed, exhausted, and frazzled. Step back so you can see what’s happening and where you need to go next.


After the Event


  1. Praise, praise, and praise Him some more! Once your big event has ended, praise your Father for seeing you through and for showing you things about yourself you probably never knew. Then pray for Him to renew your body, mind, and spirit so that you can prepare for the next event, planned or not, He has in store for you.


  1. Do not get out of bed the next day and go full-force on to the next thing! That’s what causes burnout and you don’t want that. Rest. Take time, if possible, to just do nothing. I know that’s a hard concept for those of us who think we don’t have time to stop and rest, but if you don’t you will have plenty of time to rest 6 feet under! Rest now so you can recharge your batteries before you’re on to the next thing.


  1. Reflect and celebrate what just happened. Take time to truly enjoy what just happened in your life! Look through pictures. Share stories with friends and family. Reminisce about what you felt like when you were going through it. Reflection not only reminds you of all the steps you took to get to the end of an event, but it also solidifies the fact you accomplished something and you should be proud of making it to the finish line.


  1. Look forward and plan for your next event. Maybe you’re not ready for baby number 2 just yet, but what if you started a small group for new moms. That would be not only an exciting new event to look forward to, but one that is actually an extension of the event you just finished. (This blog is actually an extension of my kidney donation about six months after my surgery!)

Philippians 3-12-14

Unplanned/Traumatic Events


So, what is an “unplanned and/or traumatic” event anyway? According to it is an extraordinarily stressful event that shatters your sense of security and leaves you feeling helpless and vulnerable.


Examples of traumatic events might be:

  • Discovery of a life-threatening illness
  • Death of a loved one
  • Severe accident
  • Natural disasters
  • Violent assault
  • Breakup of a significant relationship


These are the type of life events that strike without warning, punch you in the stomach, knock you to your knees, and tear your heart out, all in an instance.


These are also the type of events that test your faith and reveal your true character, all while your heart is breaking.


I think these are the type of events that are the hardest to overcome because 1) you usually don’t see them coming and 2) they mess with your emotions on so many levels that it’s difficult to focus and get a grip on yourself or the situation in the middle of your life being turned upside-down.


How You May React


People affected by traumatic events handle it differently and move at their own pace, but some of the most common emotional reactions may be:


  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Fear
  • Helplessness
  • Anger
  • Guilt
  • Sadness


Some of the most common physical reactions may be:


  • Bodily aches and pains
  • Sudden sweating and/or heart palpitations
  • Changes in sleep patterns, appetite, interest in sex
  • Easily startled by noises or unexpected touch
  • More susceptible to illnesses
  • Overeating/undereating
  • Increased use of alcohol/drugs
  • See more at David Baldwin



There is NO set way to handle trauma, nor NO TIME limit on how long it can affect someone. These are only SUGGESTIONS. 


Steps You Can Take


Before an Event


****Unfortunately, there really are no “Before” steps you can take for unplanned or traumatic events. By their very definition, they are unexpected and often very stressful. The only “before” action I can advise is to be AWARE and pray for God to prepare you for future events you KNOW will happen. Knowing some of these things before trauma hits can actually help you cope as you work your way through your specific circumstances.


After an Event


  1. Pray, pray, and pray some more! (Well, duh!)
  2. Do something meaningful and important every day (Love this!)
  3. Talk about the event with empathic listeners
  4. Listen to music
  5. Create art based on the experience (non-artists, try the new Adult Coloring Books!)
  6. Write about the experience
  7. Try to keep a routine as much as possible, even if it is a “new” routine
  8. Do “normal” things without necessarily talking about the event (going to church, going out to eat, going to the movies, take in a concert, etc.)
  9. Give yourself some time – do not put pressure on yourself to get back to “normal” just yet
  10. Don’t take on too much just to stay busy – you need time to actually grieve and comprehend what has happened – staying “too” busy can mask the time you need to grieve
  11. Don’t make any MAJOR life decisions yet

***To read more check out these articles:  Royal College of Psychiatrists, and David Baldwin


How to Help Others Cope After a Traumatic Event


What if you’re not the one directly affected by a traumatic event? What can you do? Here are some suggestions:


  1. Pray for them to receive peace and comfort as they work their way through this emotional rollercoaster ride
  2. Pray for God to show you ways to be helpful to them in ways you nor they may have thought about
  3. Be Patient & Understanding
  4. Offer “practical” support – help out with groceries, babysitting, mowing their lawn, etc.
  5. Be available to talk when they want to talk
  6. Encourage them to socialize, rest, exercise, or pursue hobbies that make them happy
  7. Be prepared not to take their symptoms personally – their anger, irritability, or emotional distance is in reaction to the trauma, not you

***Also remember that triggers may cause people to react to things that seem totally unrelated to the actual event! Be ready for people, places, smells, sounds, etc. to possibly cause a reaction later on.


Even with all of these “suggestions”, you or someone you know may not be able to get completely back to “normal”. If this happens, it’s time to seek professional help. There are MANY professional counselors available to help! Find someone in your church or community to help you or someone you love deal with issues suffered from traumatic events.


Whatever your “letdown”….good, bad, happy, or sad, you can rest in knowing God is not surprised by any of it. He sees, hears, thinks, and feels everything we’re going through and He will be right beside us all the way to the other side. We do not have to go through anything alone.  We are covered in His peace and grace!

Rick Warren quote

As a “creative” person, I have to say that just writing this post has been very therapeutic. Thinking through a lot of the good stuff, the bad stuff, and the sad stuff surrounding my Father’s death has actually helped me cope.


My hope for you who read this post is for peace and comfort whether you are dealing with the letdown of a big wedding, a new baby, or a completed project or a huge letdown from the death of a loved one, the shocking news of a terminal illness, or living through a natural disaster.


This post offers some “practical” advice for dealing with both types of letdown, but intertwined in it all is the relationship you need with your Heavenly Father to help you through all of it.


I would love to hear your “letdown” stories. How have you dealt with small and large letdowns in your life? Need prayers for ongoing letdown you’re living with now? Send them my way! I would love to pray for you.


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Be on the lookout for a new When We Listen series, Hump Day Hiatus, beginning this week!



Art Project #3 – Week 3 of 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting

Gratitude Garland

Better late than never!

My apologies for not having this ready last week. With my Dad’s sudden and unexpected death, I was totally thrown for a loop last week. Thank you to the many readers who have contacted me with prayers and well wishes for my Mother, my sister, and myself. Your prayers have been felt and greatly appreciated during this difficult time. 

With that said, Dad was never one to rest on his laurels. He would be up and at ’em the next day after a big event, good or bad, and get on with life. People tell me I’m a lot like him, so here we go….on to the next post/topic! Thanks Dad for teaching me to have a great work ethic! You were an awesome example of how to pick yourself up and keep going. 

The final art project for our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting! This week’s project, a Gratitude Garland, is one that I plan to keep going all year. It’s about being grateful in ALL circumstances, and creating a visual response of those memories, good or bad. You may wish to compile yours differently, but for me, I’ve draped my garland across my bookshelf in my office so I can add to it every day and watch it grow with color and memories all year long.

Here is where you can download the third art project, Gratitude Garland: Art Projects-#3-Jan16

Please feel free to share your garland with me via email ( or on the Facebook page. I would love to see them!

Also, if you missed the 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting Quotes and Prompts, you can still see them on our Facebook page, Instagram, and Pinterest

Happy Art Making!


Picking Up Where We Left Off

Picking Up

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  ~Deuteronomy 31:8~

Hello again!


Seems like it’s been awhile, but really it’s only been a couple of weeks. I’ve been busy with the beginning a new school semester, teaching more classes than I’ve ever taught before, teaching graduate-level classes for the first time, and training a new adjunct, all at the same time…oh yeah, and participating in 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting!


Busy, busy times…but good ones, none the less!


Hope your new year is off to a good start as well.




The title of this week’s post, Picking Up Where We Left Off, was inspired by a recent reconnection I had in my own life.


I started college, way back in the 80s, on an art scholarship with the intention of NEVER teaching art, or creating art to make a living. I was a business major and I planned to work in advertising, somewhere, in some capacity. End of discussion.


My college years began, sort of on a dare. My Dad “made a deal with me”. If I went to a local junior college for my first year, he would get me a car and help me go to a private college in state.


I took that deal.


Determined to do well at the junior college and seek a business degree, I went after an art scholarship at the local college. Makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?


I honestly do not even remember WHY I went looking for an art scholarship. I had taken ONE art class (ONE, mind you!) in high school, received the Art Award my senior year, and I took a few private drawing classes during my senior year. I have no idea what made me think I could get a scholarship for art in the first place!


Not sure how I got it, but I got the scholarship and spent the next year of my life practically living in the art studio and I LOVED it.


I also got the car, by the way.


The only art teacher, at the time, was an older (he at least seemed older, at the time), yet “hip” guy that I would grow very close to that year. I distinctly remember him suggesting I go on to study art rather than business. I poo, poo’d his suggestions thinking, “Oh, my goodness! Really? He thinks I should be a teacher or do art? Never! Not me!”


Famous last words!


Fast forward 10 years after that year of junior college art. I was back in the very same studio where I had denied my professor’s suggestion of teaching or creating art, asking him to write a recommendation for graduate school in art education.


Yeah, I had to eat some crow that day!




To make this sort of long story shorter and get to my point, I lost touch with my art professor over the next 30 or so years. At a reunion dinner for a TOTALLY different event, I met a guy who was an art student at that junior college with me. We began to reminisce about our art teacher. We both had looked for him, but neither of us could find him. He wasn’t on Facebook. He didn’t seem to be listed in any online directories for schools where we thought he might be. We just didn’t know where else to look!


Thank goodness the other art student was more persistent than me. He finally found our long-lost-art teacher (although he was never really lost). I immediately emailed him and started sharing all kinds of stuff not knowing if he would remember who I was or if he would even respond.


To my happy surprise, he emailed me back! It was like we were still sitting in that art studio shooting the bull or working on some paintings. We never missed a beat! It was great to hear about his teaching career and where he and his family were now. He was sounded very excited to hear I had a successful teaching career (like he always thought I would) and what I was doing now.


After we made a promise to look the other one up if we ever passed through each other’s respective towns, the conversation ended. But not really…..




I started thinking about those friendships that are so powerful, that they never really end. You may be separated from friends for days, months, years, or even decades, but those friendships that were so impactful at an important time in your life, never really go away.


I’ve always loved this anonymous poem about friendship:




People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.


When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.


When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.


Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.


Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.


LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.


— Unknown


I love that! Don’t you? A reason. A season. A lifetime. What a beautiful way to think about EVERYONE you have ever had the opportunity to meet during your life!


At first I thought that long-lost art teacher was a reason kind of friend, but then I realized he really was all three. He came into my life when I needed someone to help me navigate college and the art world. And then I moved on.


He was also a seasonal kind of a friend. He came into my life at a time when I needed to be taught a lot about art, and I loved my time in that classroom with him. And then I moved on.


He is also a lifetime kind of friend because I have recalled many of his lessons (art and life) throughout my teaching career and I have done my best to share those lessons with others. And we picked up right where we left off.


In two out of the three types of friendships, I was the one who “moved on”. I went away and then came back. I went my way, he eventually went his, but that ONE YEAR stint at a junior college taught me a lifetime of lessons about life, about teaching, and about how to be a friend.




I then began to see these relationships with friends just like our relationship with God. We often call on Him when we have a reason of needing something and then we move on. We call out His name to help with a particular situation and then, once the situation is resolved, we’re on to the next thing. WE move on….


When we are in a season of needing to learn something about growing our faith, we jump head-long into learning everything we can about what we should do, and then when we think we’ve got it, we leave. WE move on….


But, when we make our relationship with God a part of our daily lives, we become LIFETIME friends and we NEVER WANT TO LEAVE and HE PROMISES HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US!


And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 8:35-39 (NLT)~


We often “move on” when we think our prayers have been answered or we can do things on our own, but when we finally realize we truly need Him in every area of our lives, we call upon His name. We often call out in desperation, anger, or when we’re not sure what to do, and we pick up where we left off. God doesn’t change, we do. He’s been there the whole time just waiting on us to come back.




1-Give Him a Call


So, what can we do when we decide we want a friend back in our lives? If you’ve ever been the one to reach out to a long-lost friend, you know you are excited to see them, talk to them, and catch up on what’s happening in their lives, so we give them a call or today, maybe we just send them a Friend request on Facebook.


Just like with old friends, the first thing we should do is give Him a call. Call out to Him and He will hear you.


You have said, “Look for My face.” My heart said to You, “O Lord, Your face will I look for.” ~Psalm 27:8~


2-Be Willing to Wait


Sometimes when we’re the ones to reach out to the old friend, they do not answer right away. They may just be busy or they may wonder why we are reaching out to them. But usually, if it’s a former “good” friend, they want to reconnect with us just as much as we want to reconnect with them and they contact us right away.


We have no control when that reconnection will take place after we have called, so we wait. And sometimes we wait for a long time. We also must wait until God decides to talk to us.


We sometimes have to wait and endure through tough times so when we come out on the other side, we can witness to others about His unending love.


Rest in the Lord and be willing to wait for Him. Do not trouble yourself when all goes well with the one who carries out his sinful plans. ~Psalm 37:7~


3-Remember the Good Times


When we finally reconnect with old friends we often reminisce about all the good times we shared long ago. The memories are just as fresh as when they happened. We laugh. We cry. We talk and talk and talk. We pick up right where we left off.


And God wants to hear our stories as well; the good times and the bad. Yes, He already knows what we’re going through, but he wants us to tell Him about it. He wants to hear what’s on our hearts and He wants us to ask for what we need. He wants us to pick up where we left off.


Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ~James 5:13~


As some of you may know, I unexpectedly lost my Dad this week. I already had this post almost complete when it happened and I almost tossed it out or thought about putting it on hold for another week. But, after having a visitation today to receive family and friends, I thought this was the perfect post to finish.


My Dad knew a lot of people and many of them came by to pay their respects. With some of those people, we talked with them like we knew everything there was to know about each other. Some were friends from my childhood who talked like it was just yesterday we were in high school. Like we never left….we picked up right where we left off.


That’s the type of relationship I want to have with our Heavenly Father as well.


We may drift from Him, but He will always be waiting. We may call out in desperation when we need Him, but He’s waiting to hear from us. We may have to wait and wait some more, but He’s working on a plan that will be better than anything we can ever imagine. We can remember times when He’s touched our lives with love and grace, and we can thank Him for what He’s done and what He will continue to do in our lives. And we can always pick up wherever we left off.