About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. First let me say I almost passed on this one…thinking I am not one of those creatives….but oh I am so thankful I did give it a try…each one opened my soul wider…when I turned 50 some years ago and rounded a bend…I knew God was calling me…To courage…to freedom…and to finish strong…to keep running this race with endurance. So today…I know…I am doing art…and I am living with an expectancy( different than an expectation)… Just like what emily said…not with an end result in mind…just letting God lead us.. This quote is my take away…“…they did their work in a way that made a difference, in a way that influenced the people around them.” (p. 193)
    No matter how big or small…with or without words…just living present in Christ…so He can be seen and felt by those around us.
    Thank you Emily…you are a precious young lady…and to you Robin, Jessica and Angie…your hearts of hospitality welcome all who come. Blessings and grace to you!!

    • Ro, your words are always a blessing; whether here or on other sites, you have a gift of encouragement. 🙂

      And fantastic point: the distinction between living with expectancy vs. expectation! THAT’S my takeaway from your comment! A world of difference, indeed. 🙂

  2. Oh this was so good. I’m sad it’s over, and usually I pass books on to others, but I’m greedily going to keep this one for myself and reread it when I need to hear this message again. I only keep 1 bookshelf between my husband and myself since we live in such a small place, so that is precious real estate right there!

    I have a story of a person who makes art with their life, it’s my new step-father. My mom and him are celebrating their first anniversary on December 1st, and his life is one of quiet servitude, growing, and nurturing.
    He left a big engineering job to spend the rest of his days serving men in a home who have mild to severe mental retardation. He sleeps over there a few nights a week, and helps them with life tasks from getting dressed, making meals, writing checks, etc. It is a quiet, simple existence, but one that I think drew my mom toward him. She recognized his peacefulness, and the purpose which he does his job, and is now getting involved little by little to also help these men when she can, since she still has a full time job herself.
    He’s also a gardener, who gives away almost everything he preserves. He can’t help it. He wants everyone to enjoy fresh produce or jams, chutneys, and salsa. He takes care of 3 stray cats who have come to his garden and shed over the last number of years. His art is living for others, no matter how small and ‘unseen’ by the world.

    Sarah M

    • Oh my word, Sarah–THANK YOU for sharing the story of your new stepfather! What a beautiful example of life lived well! I’m sure you’re so happy for your mother; thanks for this tribute to him. It has touched my heart :).

  3. ‘Releasing the art alive within you is about waking up to God and responding in worship.’
    Yes. So much to love in this book.
    Thank you for the priceless encouragement.

  4. i think my favourite quote as to be

    ‘Ideas show up like welcome guests in brightly coloured dresses. They nod their heads and curtsy their skirts and greet me like kind, new friends waiting to come alive in my company.’

    I have this image in my head of these words dressed as fine ladies and gentlemen from an old English house, much like the ones you would see in Pride and Prejudice.

    As for an ‘image-bearer, that would be my dad. Not really a God fearing man but a man who did what he had to do and he did it right first time. He worked at whatever job came his way, never having the time or the money to stop and be trained in anything specific but each bail of wool was neatly packed and each screw was put away. He was the first one there and the last one out. If anyone needed help he didn’t ask he just did and at the age of 84 when he needed some help God made sure he got it from the right person, probably the only person who could have helped him. You see my dad had been slowly losing his sight but so that we didn’t worry he didn’t say until it all but too late, but prayers sent up on his behalf brought into his life a certain eye specialist the only one who would be able to restore his sight for now he was all but blind. The Dr said their is one thing i will try but i cannot say for sure if it will work. But work it did, even though it took quite some time. My dad got what he deserved his sight back at least in one eye. Yes my dad carries the image of God with him and he doesn’t even know it.

    Fear is an odd fellow and sometimes we find he is our constant companion. I know there has been times when i have been so concerned about what he wants that i cannot see past him to take what is rightfully mine. I think my biggest fear is to live. When death comes and rips into every part of your being, you fear to live, to be alive, you fear being alive and the death of others. You fear to say thank you and you fear to ask in case God’s answers are something different to ours. But even if today is my last day on this earth i must put fear in the corner and maybe dress him in some fie clothes and invite him to the party as a welcome guest.

    • Beverley,

      Yes, Emily’s visualization of ideas made it memorable.

      You, too, have honored your father with your words; thank you for telling us about him!

      I’m praying over you now, the way fear wants to shackle you. Freedom, friend…freedom!

  5. I loved the story about Emily sitting there with her friend, and thinking the whole time about what she would say, because I’ve been that friend. Half listening but praying the Spirit would give me the right thing to say, that I wouldn’t misrepresent Him at all in my advice, etc… I think partly b/c I was in a Bible Study years ago and the last night we encouraged each other, and what they told me was that I added a lot of wisdom to the discussion. I had no idea!

    But the next time I got to speak into someone’s life, I felt like I needed to “make it wise!!!” haha…oh, to learn it was never me in the first place. I am learning (whether in a group or 1-on-1) to “embrace the desire to be curious” again. To stop thinking about how I can be useful!

    And, as for a story of someone living like an image bearer with a job to do…I think first of my husband. He sometimes feels like what he does is pretty insignificant, like it’s not real “ministry”. I disagree. For the last 15 yrs, fresh out of college, he’s been running a business doing interior window coverings.

    He doesn’t always go out and meet with customers in their homes anymore, b/c he spends more time managing now, but I can tell you there are a number of people he’s met with that come to our church now. One family he met with while they were moving to town, are now some of our best friends and mentors. He’s prayed for people going through hard times, and had many opportunities to encourage believers and extend invitations to unbelievers. He’s met them for meals to discuss, can God be trusted? (yes!) And he’s not only given profit away to support missionaries and children in poverty, he’s made it a goal to increase the percentage of giving each year. He’s written Christmas letters to our employees telling them why he loves Jesus, and more…

    I share this, because he is just being himself. In the world. He’s a really fun, super-social guy who just really loves the Lord, and he’s using any opportunity he’s given to love the Lord His God and his neighbors. It inspires me…

  6. My favorite line is from The Artist’s Manifesto: “God is the Artist and he has made us. We are his poem and we will make art.” (p. 212). It seems like a beautiful exclamation point at the end of the book.

    Thank you all so much, for writing, discussing, and hosting.

    I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  7. One of many favorite quotes from chapter 12 is on page 210: “You are an image bearer and that is not about you becoming famous or important or promoted but about you becoming more fully yourself for the glory of God. And when you are fully yourself, everyone benefits.”

    I started regularly reading Emily’s blog around 2011 when she wrote about Annie saying “We will make art.” The “art” posts resonated with me so much, and It has been such a blessing to see that seed grow and turn into this book!

  8. Q1 I don’t think our work can make a difference unless we are living in God’s will, obedience to HIS HOLY ways. Then HE does it. Not us.

    Q2 For me I’ve been pushed around too much so now, I just want to live in my own peace, in my own space, with the LORD. Quietly and peacefully. Just God. 🙂

    Q3 Work only according to gifting. Anything else is a waste of time as I’m not gifted in that area and would get all frustrated and in low self esteem. Better to do things according to personal gifting. Then character is formed from the LORD refinement.

    Q4 I’m selfish with my gifts if others do not believe in me. Why waste my time. There will always be others somewhere who believe in me. It’s like believing in God. If a person does not believe they do not but if they do, they just do and there’s no stopping what can happen. Belief in anyone is vital. Lack of belief is just a waste of time for all concerned. Might as well watch tv and get on with being a coach potato. 🙂 Same thing.

  9. “Offer yourself as you are, not as you wish you were” (p.203) For me, that says it all!!

    I have participated in every Bloom book study since its inception & this one & Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, spoke to me in ways for which I will be forever grateful. What an imprint this book has left on my heart! I’m so sad it’s over, but I plan on reading this book at least once a year.

    Thank you Emily, Jessica, Angie & Robin for facilitating such a wonderful study!!

  10. Thank you, thank you Emily, Jessica, Angie, and Robin for taking us along on this ride!

    My favorite quote from Ch. 12 was: “You are an image bearer and that is not about you becoming famous or important or promoted but about you becoming more fully yourself for the glory of God.” (p. 210) Yes. Yes. Yes.

    My Dad would be one of those artists who wouldn’t normally be considered one. He has always been a safety guy. Checking tires. Cleaning headlights. Making sure wipers are working and cars safe and ready before any of his loved ones leaves his home. I’ve always appreciated these caring qualities of his. And now, I see the fruition of this certain gift of his. Over the last couple years since his retirement, he has become a volunteer with our local Search & Rescue in some of the toughest terrain in the country. Backcountry mountain, avalanches, frigid temperatures, etc… He is thriving in his new role and jumps up at the ready any time of day or night to come to the aid of others. Even when that person made a stupid decision that got them into their predicament. He is selfless and serving, and I’ve seen so much art come out of him since retiring. It’s like he’s finally found the next chapter in the book of what makes him come alive. I love seeing this.

    In response to question 3, the most recent fear to accompany me has been the fear of success. The notion that if what God has been doing and working in moves beyond its current sphere, that my life will change in ways that are uncomfortable and unknown. This particular fear is gone, I’m not afraid anymore. I’m more embracing the change as I step out and be an image-bearer. And I can’t wait to be used for His glory.

  11. I haven’t commented lately, but I’ve kept up with the video discussions. Thank you Emily for making these videos- your generosity and sincerity shines through. Also, the way you speak with your hands is beautiful (your sign language background really shows). I’m still processing your book and what it means for my life. But, since this book club is over, I’ll have to start following your blog so I can continue to “hear” your insight and encouragement.

    Thanks also to everyone at (in)courage for putting this book club together!

  12. Intention what a word!!! My problem is I have good intentions and then get sidetracked when I don’t put God first. Hurry, worry, procrastinate, you name it have, at times, come before God. I know when I put Him first and do my quiet time BEFORE I start my day, all goes well, even if it wasn’t what I had planned. Thank you, Jesus, for knowing me so well.

  13. Q1: Nope – can’t choose just one. Going to just leave it like that, as suggested :-).

    Q2: In the theme of the Philippines right now (yes, it is *almost* all I am thinking about these days)… in all the planning/organization/orchestrating that has gone on to get much needed aid to those in need, the visualness of my brother getting to actively be the “last link” to bring the aid to so many – ‘behind’ the scenes my sister-in-law is doing the single parent thing in a totally different location, several hundred miles/several flight hours away, in a foreign country. There is the potential for serious fear there. Even more so, it was her birthday the day after he left. I know she didn’t for one moment entertain him staying with her until after her birthday; she helped him prepare and encouraged to him go right away, even though there was a storm coming and they knew it was a good possibility he would be grounded and not able to make it to his destination until after her bday anyway. She knew he was going to do what he was meant to do and in turn, she did what she was meant to do as a fellow image bearer. She is a blessing to our family and to so many others. She made living art by being a blessing and supporting others. She made living art by supporting her husband to go far away, to do high risk service, for an undetermined time. She made living art by continuing life with their three children, not at all begrudging “daddy not being home”.

    Q3: I have had many victories over fear this year. (one of them – participating in this book club, commenting publicly? [induces racing heart and near hyperventilating]… but, I’ve done it!) For me, much of life has been accompanied by fear. A million little ways has helped me see beauty in embracing life, as it comes. The outcome is not my responsibility. I’m looking forward to applying the principles on page 203, “Add more of [myself] to [my] work – more of [my] personality, preferences, and desire. Reject [my] fear of scarcity, of sharing and competition. … Offer [myself] as [I am], not as [I] wish [I] were. .. Releasing the art alive within [me] is about waking up to God and responding in worship.”

    Q4: Unfortunately, yes, too often I can see in hindsight where I’ve withheld my art from others. The times I thought I didn’t care about the outcome (in my mind, given up just to finish whatever project – made it technical for me to cross it off the list already!) is often when what I offer is enough. I see now I was finally out of the way and they could better see Him in my unique design. Page 205 reminds us, “We were made by the hands of a Maker to be brave, to take heart and have courage.” I’ve resisted practicing the brave, courage, and my heart – I’ve instead practiced “melodies of fear” and mastered the “art” of procrastination… changing this now.

    Thank you so much Emily for making yourself vulnerable in writing this book; thank you, Jessica and Angie, for sitting with Emily in front of the camera to discuss this with us; and thank you, Robin, for facilitating discussion and being so encouraging to so many comments all the way through. I got to sit in the comfort of my home, learning so much and have a new outlook on life, because the four of you gave lots of time and made yourself vulnerable – thank you.

  14. Thank you Emily, Angie, Jessica and Robin. I don’t even have words to describe how inspiring this study has been and will continue to be in my life. So just thank you. Xoxo

  15. Thank you for all the videos and great discussions, Jessica, Angie, & Robin. Thank you Emily for writing this wonderful work – it was so well-timed. It has encouraged me more than I can say, as have everyone’s comments.
    My favorite quote was from p. 194. The one Jessica mentions on fear. God did not give us a Spirit of fear. The Spirit of God is in us…how can we take that so lightly??

    Time to stop making excuses and…Create!

    Many blessings to all!

  16. It’s really difficult to pick a favorite quote – there is so much to savor in this chapter and really the whole book! I am honored to have read this message, and I pray my life looks different after reading it. To say thank you for writing this, Emily, is not enough! But I truly thank you for sharing your art with us.

    “You are an image bearer and that is not about you becoming famous or important or promoted but about you becoming more fully yourself for the glory of God,” (210).

    Amen-so be it.

  17. Favorite Quote from Ch12: “Choose generosity and share the unique shape of your design. Offer yourselves as you are, not as you wish you were.”

  18. “The goal isn’t to push fear away forever; it’s to refuse to be pushed around by fear at all.”

    This is what I’ve learned… To not fear failure. This is HUGE for me. It’s new and wonderful and setting me free and I am so thankful. I’m also learning that part of the art God has created in me has to do with **thinking** My blog tag line used to be something about the thoughts of a girl who thought way too much. For a while though, it has instead celebrated the musing and frequent inconclusiveness of it and I’m seeing for the first time that THINKING is actually part of the art God has wired in me! It comes out (when I don’t stifle it) in blog posts or conversations and prayers or songwriting… When I asked God when and where do I share it, He whispered (smiling, I’m sure), “Everywhere.” I think from here on out I’m going to be more intentional about carving out space and moments to think and then to be sure to share what He shows and teaches me. I can’t wait. 🙂

    Thank you Sofa girls and Robin… And from the bottom of my heart and soul, thank you Emily!!!

  19. Oh and one last thing, Em? The tears… They showed up as I read the manifesto. I’m so glad you put that in there. Thinking about it again makes me want to turn it into a song… 🙂 (and again the tears…) those are lyrics right there to be sung and to be LIVED. The perfect amen to the whole book.

  20. “Every moment is packed with artistic possibility because, as an image bearer with a job to do, there is potential to reveal the glory of God in every circumstance, no matter how I feel, who I’m with, what my hands hold, or what’s gone wrong. God with us lives within us. And He will come out through us in a million little ways.”

    <3 i didn't want this to end. i will be reading this book over and over. it touched my heart and God has already brought forth some major fruit from it. all praise to HIM!

  21. Years ago I was visiting my sister and we took out very young children to a local amusement park (read small). I will never forget one of the men working there – in fact he is the ONLY one I remember. He was so enthusiastic! He smiled and made each of the children feel (including me) welcome and special. He mad a great impression on my as he created his art!