Always a Surprise

Remember the last time you were in a conversation with someone who really seemed to be listening?  They asked all the right questions, and they seemed, honestly and truly, to want to hear your story.  They nodded and looked you right in the eye, smiled with encouragement, laughed in all the right places.

And it’s always a surprise when that happens, isn’t it?

That’s how I felt when Cheryl Smith asked me to participate in an interview for her blog.  I’ve enjoyed her writing — especially her interviews — for quite some time, because she has a knack for framing the conversation in a way that feels like a visit.

I couldn’t believe how long it took me to think through her list of questions and to write my answers.  To be honest, it felt a little awkward at first, as if I was monopolizing the conversation or over-sharing.

Besides, I like to be the one who asks the questions.

I wondered, “Who’s going to be interested in my answers?”  My heart pounded a rhythm of “keep-this-short” and the old familiar not-enough-messages kept playing in the background, but eventually, I realized that Cheryl’s interview questions fit right in with the mission of Living Our Days and with everything I write or teach.  So, I hope that you will hop on over to Cheryl’s place, Homespun Devotions, and read our conversation about my family, my faith, the grace I am receiving, and the lessons from God’s Word that I am trusting.


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42 thoughts on “Always a Surprise”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your interview, Michele. It was great to get to know a little more about you and your family. Many blessings to you!


  2. What a blessing your interview was to me, Michele! I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to chat with me…I felt like we were sitting in a small cafe’ over a cup of coffee. So very grateful for God’s grace and how He orchestrated the intersecting of our paths here in blogland. 🙂


  3. I’m like you; I’d rather ask than answer, just like I’d rather be behind the camera instead of in front! Thanks for sharing today!
    Stopping by from InspireMeMonday

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Just want to thank-you Michele, not just for doing the interview (which of course I was interested to read every word of) but for acknowledging the heart-pounding resistance and the background accusations. I am paralyzed by these of late and it is always helpful to recognize that others face and overcome them. As I tried to explain to my husband this morning what a struggle it has become to get past this resistance of accusing voices, he was to the point: “Why do you listen?!” Giving me a few minutes to defend my insecurities he offered instead this prognosis. “It’s pride.” gulp. Not what I wanted to hear, but for this there is a solution: repentance.
    Ahh… so good to have other voices out there confirming and affirming truth. Thank you Michele for yours!


    1. Don’t you just love it/hate it when our husbands are right? It’s true, Linda, that if I listened to those voices, I would never write a word. And I certainly would never share them, because they’re NEVER good enough, finished enough, important enough, exciting enough . . . (I could go on.) I have two manuscripts on my computer right now that are both due this week, and I’ve been fiddling with commas and prepositions for days now. If it were not for deadlines, I would fiddle for all eternity.

      What if you set yourself a deadline for getting some words written and out there? (By the way, your Skelton Sketches are lovely and that’s such a friendly place!)


      1. Thanks Michele for the advice. I once upon a time had a deadline. Fridays. But the pressure got so great I had to stop and do some soulwork I guess–confront what exactly is going on here! Maybe it’s nearing time to get back at it and ignore the voices…. I’m glad you are committed to deadlines. Your writing and your life that backs it up, are great blessings to the Body of Christ. Thank-you.


  5. And one more thing, Michele! I love it that you’re looking to steer toward reading/reviewing more classics. I would love to join you if you should feel inspired to start a ‘Let’s read classics together’ sort of thing. ( : just saying… I’m especially interested in Old classic fiction I have had on reading lists for years but never quite gotten to. It would be wonderful to read and discuss with other Christian women. I have yet to find a forum for doing so. (Terry Glaspey’s–Great Books of the Christian Tradition and other books which have shaped our world, is full of suggested titles)… just an idea, thought you might be keen.


    1. Wow, I hadn’t thought of that, but . . .
      Who knows?
      Funny, too, a friend from a community choir (we’re already practicing for Christmas) asked me at our first practice if I would consider something similar with the ladies in her church. It all sounds like so much fun. Let’s see: 24 hours divided by . . .
      It’s something to pray about anyway, isn’t it?


  6. It is so refreshing to be with a listener. A listener who actually wants to listen. It’s a learned art I think. I loved your description of being able to have an interview that feels like a visit! I want to be a better listener

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Michele, I will join in the chorus of those who say they loved getting to know you better by reading your responses (and seeing those wonderful pictures). The two of you covered so many interesting topics, and yet I was a bit sad when I read the last word!


  8. WOW! Michele, the more I get to know you, the more I admire and appreciate you! I am so grateful for your thoughtful and heart-felt review of my book, “Name Above All Names Alphabet: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ,” and for your insightful comments on my weekly blog posts. I loved hearing more about your “inner views” on Cheryl’s site. I especially liked this quote, “Amy Carmichael, missionary to India in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s was vexed at being delayed in her journey to India. The boat was docked en route for several days, and she marveled that her traveling companion and senior missionary colleague was taking it all in stride so well. The wise woman’s words to Amy became a byword for her for the rest of her ministry whenever things did not go as expected: “God knows all about the boats.” And this memorable quote by Annie Dillard: “The way we live our days will be, after all, the way we live our life.” You truly are an inspiration to me, as a mom, a grandmother, and a writer…many, many blessings to you and your sweet family!


  9. Michele, I enjoyed learning more about you. You are such an encouragement to me. You are right about strong families making strong churches; I just wish more people understood this. I love Cheryl’s blog, thank you for sharing it and the interview with Thankful Thursdays.


  10. It was such a lovely interview in so many ways, and I do agree that the interviewer plays a very important role in asking the right questions, and presenting them in such a way as to encourage and bless the reader. Cheryl surely has that wonderful ability, and I also can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading your responses as well! So happy to have met you, a fellow sister in Christ, and praying the Lord’s sweetest and richest blessings in your life today 🙂


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