Ann Kiemel and Don Miller

1. Ann Kiemel Anderson died a couple days ago, and her funeral is Saturday. Dying in the Lord is not a tragedy, but it’s an enormous loss to her family and larger world. Ann is the girl who sang songs to her taxi driver and loved her neighborhood by baking cookies and buying ice cream cones. She inspired many people in several generations to say YES to God, and run to change the world. I heard a wise man say “The most gifted ones struggle the hardest,” and I think that was true for Ann. She fought a lot of personal demons, got addicted to fame and drugs and running, and hated herself for it, and failed often, but kept stumbling back to God for help. I think she fought well, cancer was her last enemy, and now she can rest well.

Related post: Yes, Lord 

2. I’m coming off such a good weekend that it deserves a whole big post all to itself but it would sound like I’m gushing. My good friend Janelle flew with me to San Diego for  the ’14 Storyline Conference. I knew it would be good, but it was way better than I was expecting. We were 1,700 people in the Point Loma Nazarene University chapel, focusing on how to live a good story. Donald Miller was the main speaker then there were many others, writers and visionaries, who told us their stories and life missions. It was authentic and honest, not glitzy or emotionally manipulative which is why I could respect it and take in what they were saying. Three recurring  points:

  • Life is going to be hard, very hard, either because of our own mistakes or just because life is unfair.
  • God is fathering us, and He’s a good father.
  • Every bad part of our story can be redeemed.

I heard and saw so much grace, love, and hope poured out, and it fed something deep inside me that had felt parched. I will never be the same for having witnessed people loving their world and equipping others to live well, stop being a victim, make wise choices, and stumble to Jesus for forgiveness and freedom.  For anyone wanting to refocus and be refreshed, I recommend this conference. And if they have it in San Diego again, you will love Point Loma.  How can you beat bird-of-paradise and roses blooming in February?