I want to introduce you to my friend and author, Cathy Baker. The more I get to know Cathy, the more I love her, and you will, too. She has just published her second short devotional book for vacations — this time for a vacation in the mountains. I have so enjoyed her books, and I asked her a few questions recently about her writing.
Cathy, what led you to write a seven-day devotional? And how did God lead you to write one for the beach and the mountains?
A few years ago I was minding my own business on a warm sandy beach in Garden City, SC when the idea sparked to create some type of devotional for the beach. I went home questioning if God was talking to me, or if I’d soaked up too much sun.
The following summer I returned. Same beach, same rented house, and same setting. This time, however, details began to emerge for this devotional. I was reminded of the sensory elements I had used in past Bible lessons while teaching adult studies—one in particular that took place almost a decade ago. On that summer vacation, I knew I’d be teaching on Psalm 139 the Sunday after I returned from the beach so I scooped dry beach sand into twenty snack bags and wrote Psalm 139:17-18 on each one.
It took three years for the first devotional guide to come together for the beach. Since it was the location where the idea sparked, I decided there couldn’t be a better place to begin the series. The mountains naturally followed, as it is a place I feel closer to God and based on the feedback I’ve received, I’m not alone.
I have loved both of your devotional books. What makes these unique from other devotionals out there?
I believe what makes this series of books different is that they are sensory-based. There’s an arrival and departure day with five days in between. Each of the five days is focused on a different sensory. God wired us with a number of senses for our enjoyment. One need only remember catching the scent of spring’s first bloom or tasting their grandmother’s homemade pies to know the power our senses hold. But they were also given to us for God’s glory, as seen in the study of the Tabernacle, for example. Focusing on the different senses invites us to slow down and embrace God in the details of life.
Oh, and remember the snack bags with a scoop of sand? I’ve had women ten years down the road call to tell me they still have their bag of sand because it reminds them of how often God thinks of them. The power of our senses is hard to measure this side of heaven, but I have no doubt God uses them to draw us closer to Him.
How has God used your writing to draw you into a more intimate relationship with Him?
The reason this series of books took three years to begin writing was due to the mingling of two powerful forces when combined — insecurities and laziness. In January, I sensed God saying, You are treating your calling like a hobby. I was lovingly convicted to the point of action. It was a turning point in my life, my calling, and my relationship with God. Now, I am secure in the knowledge that He is not only present in my life—He is also working in and with me to achieve His glory through the work of my hands.
So, is there another vacation devotional in the works?
Yes! The next book in the series will be for Easter. Next year, Lord willing, there will also be a guide for lake vacations, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Thanks for asking!
I can’t wait! Cathy, thank you for sharing with us.
Cathy’s vacation devotionals are available on Amazon. I’m taking mine with me when I head to the mountains next month! Subscribe to Cathy’s blog and receive a free e-book, Praying In Every Room of Your Home.
Cathy Baker is an award-winning writer and author of Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Beach as well as Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains. As a twenty-five year veteran Bible instructor, she’s led hundreds of studies and workshops. She’s also contributed to numerous anthologies and publications, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Upper Room, and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family. In addition, her poetry can be found in several popular anthologies. She and her husband, Brian, live in the foothills of the Carolinas where she one day hopes to have her very own Goldendoodle.