Holding My Peace

The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. – Exodus 14:14

The human tongue, 10 centimeters long and a conglomeration of eight muscles is not the strongest part of our body but it is one of the deadliest. James 3:8 says “no one can tame the tongue, it is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.” For such a small part of our body, the tongue can inflict serious damage!

Today, was one of those days when I was tempted to unleash this weapon of mass destruction. I received a tart request that I felt was unfair, and my human nature wanted to push back, and stand up for myself. Before I could unholster my weapon, I heard a gentle whisper encouraging me to hold my peace and let the Lord fight my battles. I swallowed the venom that sat on my tongue and physically walked away.

We live in a culture that applauds the “clapback.” The world says to push back against wrongs and if you can do it with sass and snark, you get bonus points. But God has a different plan. The word tells us to “set a guard over our mouth” (Psalms 141:3). God does not reward us for the clever retort but for keeping our tongues from evil. 1 Peter 3:10 instructs us that “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies.”

In heated moments, I can easily forget the end goal. I don’t want the temporary satisfaction of having bested someone with my words. I want the soothing tongue in Proverbs 15:4. I want my tongue to rejoice and body to rest in hope (Acts 2:26). So, I will follow Psalms 39:1 and “watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” I may not get high fives and finger snaps for the clapback but the rewards of holding my peace are far greater.

Snow Falls

“He directs the snow to fall on the earth and tells the rain to pour down. Job 37:6

In the summer,  I would happily grab my sweet pup Belle and head out for a walk. Many days, we’d go out four or five times and would often stop and just soak in the glorious sunshine. But summer does not last, at least in Michigan. This year winter ignored the calendar and arrived in fall.

So it was on an early winter day that I reluctantly pulled on layers to take Belle for a walk. With a scowl on my face, I angrily stomped through the walk, complaining about the cold and snow. SNOW before winter, how dare it! I then noticed my sweet girl happily romping through her first snow. I had been so put out by how the weather was affecting me, I forgot it was her first winter. Her whole body seemed to dance as she explored the blanket of white.

Her joy made me stop and really notice my surroundings. Admittedly, it was beautiful. It was dusk but the snow reflected the light and everything seemed illuminated yet starry. Belle sniffed the air, and I did too. It smelled pure and fresh.

We stood for a moment watching tendrils of smoke curl up into the night air and enjoying the peaceful stillness. I understood anew Matthew 28:3, “His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.”  I was so busy complaining about my discomfort that I missed the beauty right in front of my face. It hit me that this was not the only time that discomfort had led me to miss beauty. There are times in my life where God places or allows me to be uncomfortable. Far too often, I focus on getting back to being warm and cozy and miss the beauty in the hard season.

Snow cannot fall when it is warm and God was showing me that there is joy to be found even in your least favorite season. I tucked the lesson in my heart and walked a little slower back home so that I could enjoy the moment just a little bit longer.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Branding, Social Media, Communications

As the Director of Communications for Impact Church, I develop and execute our internal and external communications strategies. We are a busy church so there is always a lot going on! Listed below are a few of the projects I have had the pleasure to work on.

Reboot Conference – This annual conference is one of our signature events and people fly into the city to attend. For the event, we created invite cards, social graphics, ads, and promotions.











Easter is the church’s Superbowl Sunday and there are a million moving parts. Last year, our campaign and sermon theme was All Access. We created ads, t-shirts,  videos, social graphics, invite cards, follow-up cards, and promos for our guests.


What do you do when your Pastor starts a radio show? You work with your team to create a brand identity and a website!

Day-to-day. We have daily communications from social media content to e-newsletters, internal comms and announcements.

Media Relations: American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)

We provided media relations support to ASAM around the release of a new National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addition Involving Opioid Use. The date of the press conference coincided with the Pope’s visit to Washington shutting down access around the city.  The press conference featured ASAM leadership, federal partners (including CDC, NIDA, SAMHSA, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy), and a member of the Virginia Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin abuse who talked about the epidemic’s impact on his family. It was no small feat to get coverage with everyone focused on the Pontiff! We reached out to local, national, and trade media outlets, and provided interviews and quotes to publications ranging from The Washington Post and The New York Times to Pew Charitable Trusts. We also secured mentions in a variety of medical trade publications.

Post: Silence

This post was originally published on Marketing, Musings and More

Standing on the precipice of desperation

Darkness whispered in your ear

Void of rational thought, burdened heart listened

Tilted head and heard the bottomless pit of hopelessness, calling softly, come, come

Gun cocked, thoughts silenced

Bang! End of pain, end of thought and darkness welcomed you

A mother’s heart beats wildly,  world spinning in fear

Mouth moves but makes no sound, chest heaves with panic

Body moves in slow motion toward the sound

Eyes behold what mind does not, God no, no, no

Sirens blare but rescue is too late

Flashing lights and uniforms surround your now still form

Was it true, I was there what could I do

The noise in your head has spun ours into silence

Left to bear the pain of your decision, left to wonder why

Pitying looks, awkward silences

Comforting pats on back, we’ll never know what caused the break

But we are left to ask why for the rest of our days

Why didn’t you love us enough?

Blog Post: Joyful Flights and Soft Landings

This post was originally published on karenswim.wordpress.com

For a time I lost my voice, not the physical one for that would have been less painful, but my writing voice. Fingers stilled, words no longer bubbled to the surface begging to flow onto the page. This was no ordinary writer’s block but a crisis tantamount to the loss of a vocal cord. It was an obstruction that would require more than the usual tricks of the trade.

Initially, I welcomed the silence as one does when ordered to a day of voice rest. I needed the time to be still, to quiet the noise that not only surrounded me but had permeated my being. But the silence stretched on and my voice went from a tired croak to a soft whisper to nothing at all. While my voice was silent my world and head were filled with the haunting voices of others. No matter how hard I tried to push them down, they rose angrily to the surface like ugly ghosts clawing at me with skeletal fingers in the graveyard of disillusion. I ran from the page to escape their grip desperate to once again reach the welcoming light of day. I was afraid to venture back into the catacombs to find my voice so I stayed in the safety of daylight comfortably ensconced on a bench watching the words of others go by.

Then one day a floodgate of emotion arose like a tsunami sweeping away the locks and chains that held me captive. Its force propelled me into mid-air light with reckless abandon. In flight I did not open the parachute of perfection, not caring if I landed in an undignified heap on the rapidly approaching concrete. Broken bones, bruised ego and a hard landing would be far better than the prison of silence to which I had been confined.

Words tumbled out propelling me through my flight of fancy. Certain I would crash at the bottom, fear mixed with the heady excitement of freedom. I cascaded through raw emotions strung together into sentences, unpolished, uninhibited, toward my fate. Vulnerable, unequipped I stretched my fingers quickening my flight. Near the bottom, I squeezed my eyes preparing for the final fall, willing to accept a hard landing that would leave a permanent stain of failure that would seep into the grout and crevices of my legacy. But I did not go splat. Inches from the ground I was safely gathered in a net woven by caring souls who had witnessed my fall and cushioned by landing with their gentle words of encouragement.

Giddy with the thrill of adventure I bounced upon their gentle net before I climbed safely down. I looked up and shouted with my newly recovered voice, giving thanks for my freedom and for good friends who stood by when I was silent and cushioned me when I dared to once again take flight.

Special thanks to Joanna Paterson, Lillie Ammann, and Crieg Bryan for cushioning my landing.

Press Release: Political Survey

Hired by PR agency to create themes and draft release for a client’s political survey. This was more complex than a traditional release as it required reviewing a wealth of data to create a story worth telling.

New Political Survey Reveals Views of Small Businesses

SMBs Divided on Candidates and Issues; 81% Feel Politicians Don’t Get Them

WALTHAM, MA–(Marketwired – Feb 23, 2016) – A new political survey from Alignable, the social network for small business owners, reveals that we are a nation divided. In fact, a whopping four out of five small business owners believe that politicians do not understand them, and are deeply divided on specific candidates and issues, like gun control.

The survey provides insight into small business owners’ opinions on hot-button issues and presidential candidates. Alignable is the new town hall — it’s a community with business owners in all fifty states and more than 7,000 communities, sharing information, debating issues, and voicing key political and business concerns. Full Release

Social Media To Raise Awareness

There are some projects that really hit you in the heart and this was one. We were working with Anapol, Schwartz, et al on social media and were tapped by one of the partners to assist with a new initiative. Joel Feldman had lost a daughter to distracted driving. He and his wife channeled grief into action creating a nonprofit foundation and a movement to End Distracted Driving. We created and managed Facebook and Twitter For End Distracted Driving and helped develop partnerships across the country on their behalf.

Media Relations: Nonprofit Fundraising Event

We worked with Shonali Burke Consulting to provide media relations support to Give Local America, a national day of giving. Our team was brought in one month prior to the event. Our goal was to secure four media placements and drive awareness to increase donations. We secured eight media placements and 438 media mentions, with a reach of 506,635,250. In addition, we raised $68.5 million for over 9,000 nonprofits across the country.

CEO Thought Leadership

Hired by  Highwire PR  to develop bylined article for AppDirect CEO. Article was published in several publications including All Things D and Forbes.


There is a war in the valley, a war for talent. Companies are willing to do battle offering dollars and perks to attract top talent. Social networking company, Meebo has gone as far as offering $10,000 bonuses to any employees whose referrals lead to hiring JavaScript engineers. Talent poaching is happening at all levels from tech giants like Facebook and Apple to small start-ups. Even behemoth Google has begun offering a 10 percent overall salary increase in an effort to retain its employees. The battle makes sense considering that attracting top talent can change the trajectory of a company’s path and strengthen its future. But is the industry armed with the right weapons? There is little doubt that recruiting and retaining top performers in the tech industry is more challenging than ever. While there is a competitive hunt for talent, hiring candidates simply based on prestigious education or big name experience, will ultimately fail. Employers must look beyond talent to cultural fit. But in many organizations culture is neither meticulously developed nor defined in the recruiting process. Read more