Linda Interviewed by Chasing Fireflies

chasing firefliesOn a recent trip to California, Linda had the privilege to be interviewed by Gil Moegerle, a communications professor, as part of a podcast for the Chasing Fireflies Blog. Chasing Fireflies is a blog for parents and teachers of young children (ages 2-8).

To learn more about Chasing Fireflies, visit firefliesblog.com.

We are grateful to Chasing Fireflies for allowing us to share the podcasts below.  Enjoy the audio.





Gratitude Journey – October 2013

Greetings! Here is the October report of my gratitude journey as well as an invitation to attend the Thanksgiving Retreat that is in just 2 weeks, November 15-16. I will share several truths and principles that have shaped my soul and help prepare me to fully enjoy this special time of year. My hope is that at the end of our time together you will find your soul refreshed and ready for the best holiday season ever!

October was filled with some amazing travel as well as conversations and memory making events with family, friends, and some life-shaping mentors.

Ashley Miriam Grandstaff

Jim and I also welcomed our newest granddaughter on Saturday, October 20 when Ashley Miriam Grandstaff (born September 3, 2012, Ethiopia) joined our family. Brian and Sarah now have five beautiful daughters. We are blessed today with 8 precious granddaughters and 3 amazing grandsons.

October 13-20 – Blowing Rock, North Carolina

We enjoyed the beautiful mountains of North Carolina with our entire family (minus Brian Grandstaff and Tim Graeser) when we gathered in Blowing Rock with my brother and sister and their families. It was the first time the entire Woodall Family (51 people) was together. Unfortunately, my mom was unable to attend as she was recovering from back surgery several weeks prior. The best part of the event was getting all the grandchildren together (23 of the 24 were present, 19 were age 5 and younger). It was a sweet time. Each child wore a shirt with the birth order number so that my mom could have a fun family picture. Ashley was missing and Danae Woodall is currently pregnant with number 25.

Takeaways from our family time

  • There is NOTHING sweeter than family time together when relationships are healthy but it requires us to give full attention to each person and his/her needs.
  • It takes work to be a mom that serves her family wholeheartedly and authentically. Serving my family will always be my highest and greatest calling.
  • Laying aside expectations brings freedom and delight.
  • Generosity is not just measured by resources but also by time and words (and sometimes no words).


October 25-28 – Portland, Oregon

We were home for a few days before Jim and I headed to the West Coast. Our trip to Oregon was filled with precious as well as hard conversations. Our visit to Portland would take us back to where we lived from 1979-1980. We moved from Virginia for Jim to attend Western Seminary to pursue graduate study in pastoral ministry. When we arrived in Portland Sarah was 18 months old and it would not be long before I learned that I was pregnant with Jonathan. During that year we faced the most troublesome time in our marriage. It did not take us long to realize that Portland was not for us, so two weeks after Jon was born (March 27, 1980) my mom and dad helped us move to Orlando. The visit to our former home, the seminary, and the surrounding areas prompted many conversations.

Takeaways from the return to Portland

Leaving Portland in 1980 marked the death of a dream for Jim. At the time we both felt hopeless and confused but we were confident that God did not want us to stay. We made a decision to leave based on faith not knowing what the future would bring.

In time God demonstrated that he had a greater plan for us. For the last 30 years God has given us a ministry that is deeply rooted in our passion and love for our family. It has not taken us away from our family but has brought us closer together.  At the time we had NO IDEA what hung in the balance.

I love what Wayne Cordeiro says, “We can only see the immediate but God sees the beginning and the end and He has a plan, and we must be OK with that.” At the time the immediate was devastating and seemingly impossible, and often times we found ourselves NOT being OK with it, but GOD’s plan has been incredible.

Linda_GreggGregg Harris

Gregg is a very special friend who God has used to speak many truths into our family story over the last thirty years. We began homeschooling Sarah in 1983 where there was no law that was in place and we found ourselves all alone in following what God had placed on our heart. In 1984 we attended a homeschooling workshop presented by Gregg. From the moment we heard him speak, we knew that God had called us to something great. He put words to our heart’s thoughts and desires. He helped me more than anyone understand the “Seasons of Life.” As a homeschooling mom of many children, I found myself often wanting to be doing something different, but Gregg helped me see the importance of learning all that I can in this season in order for me to move to the next season with no regrets.

Our time with Gregg was sweet. I wanted him to know how he shaped not only my heart, but also our family story. Today Gregg is alone. His precious wife Sono died three years ago from colon cancer. I wanted our words to encourage his heart in the difficult season of aloneness. The truths of understanding God’s plan from beginning to end and being OK with it was our prayer for Gregg. His season is hard but he knows he can trust God’s plan from beginning to end.

Linda_WayneWayne Cordeiro

From Portland we traveled to Eugene, Oregon to be with author and pastor Wayne Cordeiro. Our time with Wayne was incredible. Wayne pastors a church in Hawaii and also serves at New Hope Christian College in Eugene. My life was dramatically changed in 2008 when I heard Wayne speak at the Willow Creek Leader’s Summit. His message was entitled, Dead Leader Running. I was on the verge of burnout and I knew it. I knew if I did not radically change some of my habits and practices that I would no longer be effective for what God had for me. After listening to him speak and share his story I made changes to my sleep patterns, my morning practices, and my overall health. After that session he then mentored me through his books, Leading on Empty and The Divine Mentor.  I highly recommend both for your reading.

Jim and I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Wayne and his wife Anna sharing our story and our gratitude. Our time together was intimate and tender. My words to Wayne were emotional for him to hear as they came at a time when he is wondering what is next for him.

When Jim and I were driving home we found ourselves moved deeply by this one idea. You never know what another person is going through at the time you share your words of gratitude. It was obvious to us that our simple and specific words were sweet and life giving to Wayne’s soul.

Proverbs 16:24, Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.

Takeaways from our visits in Oregon

  • Specific words of appreciation and gratitude shape a person’s soul.
  • Pleasant words truly are sweet and bring health to the bones.
  • Don’t be afraid to share your gratitude and words of affirmation with others, your words may be more important than you realize.

October 28-30 – Santa Rosa, California

Three years ago God brought Lynn Ross into my life. She helped me walk through a difficult time of leadership transition. She was a safe friend who was able to listen and serve me when I did not know what to do. When I look back on our story together I smile as I think about how when I could only see the immediate, God could see the beginning and the end and He had a plan, and I had to be OK with that. I’m so grateful for her friendship.

October 30-November 4 – San Diego, California

Our final five days are in beautiful San Diego. We will enjoy time with Jon and his family, as well as spending time reflecting and dreaming.

The year is nearly over and as you look at where you are today are you excited for what is ahead? As you look back on 2013 are you able to take time and reflect on what GOD brought to you in this year? I hope so.

November 15-16 – Thanksgiving Retreat

I really hope I will be able to SEE YOU in the next few weeks at the Thanksgiving Retreat. I can’t wait to share more!

Dinner Club 2012-13 Audio & Notes

Dinner Club 2012-13

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Living to Hear Well Done Notes
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Living Holy Notes
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Living Grateful Notes
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Living with Wonder Notes
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Living Today Notes
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Living to Celebrate Notes

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My Significant Year

How do I share in writing all that GOD has done in my life over the last few months?  I wish I could sit and share this with you over a cup of coffee, but today I will pray that the Holy Spirit will take my words and let them be clearly communicated to you in this post. (I will share more at the March 5 parent meeting)

This weekend is a marker in my life.  It is my last weekend in the decade of my 50’s as well as a time to announce that the Werner tribe will be adding another precious grandchild (Lord willing) in August.  Elisabeth is expecting her second baby.  This will give Jim and me 10 amazing grandchildren.  Words cannot even describe the joy it is to watch our babies have babies.

Given the significance of the weekend, I want to share with you what GOD has done and is doing in my life.  I will seek to share my current story in three brief categories: Significant Moments, A God Whisper, and a New Dream.  You can hear more by listening to the first 15 minutes of my opening session at the New Year, New Goals, New YOU event that I presented on Saturday, January 5.

Significant Moments
Dr. Dobson came to Orlando on Saturday, October 27 to present two sessions to a live audience.  Jim and I were asked by Mike Farris of Home School Legal Defense Association to help organize the event.  We were overwhelmed with excitement and delight with the idea.  We could not even believe that GOD would give us such an opportunity to actually meet the man who had significantly shaped our story.  It was through Dr. Dobson in 1983 that we learned about homeschooling. As a result of his ministry we began the frightening journey with our oldest daughter Sarah when she began kindergarten in August of 1983.

When we shared our personal story with his team in July, they asked if we would be available to host the Dobson’s on Sunday, after the event, as they felt that Dr. Dobson would be encouraged and energized by our family story.  Once again we were overwhelmed with gratitude.  Dr. Dobson was coming to lunch at the Werner home.  What an incredible moment God was giving to us as we embarked this year on our thirty-year homeschooling anniversary.

From July until October, I spent significant time thinking and writing my thoughts that I wanted to share with Dr. Dobson. His voice called my heart to focus on my family.  He helped me understand how to train my children, raise a strong willed little boy, be a better wife, and be tough and tender in relationships that were not what GOD desired. He introduced me to spiritual mentors who significantly shaped my life and my story through seminars and books.

Because of his ministry I was not afraid to fight for my family.  Because of our focus on our marriage and our relationships with our children, we sit at an incredible place of delight with our five children, their spouses and their children.  Dr. Dobson was a life shaper for me and I was so very GRATEFUL!

The Night of the Event
The room was ready, the green room was set, and the excitement was in the air.  We learned that Dr. Dobson was under high security due to demonstrations at an event he had done previously in California.  As a result, he did not arrive to the church until 30 minutes before he was to speak.  Jim was with him in the green room preparing his introduction while I was in the audience assisting Mrs. Dobson and his children.  As Jim had a delightful meeting with Dr. Dobson, I delighted in meeting Ryan and Danae.  In the early introductions I learned that the entire Dobson family had been sick all week and that Dr. Dobson was not feeling well that evening.  Many prayers were lifted for him that night and as a result he was not able to spend a lot of time with people.

After the sessions were over Jim and I were busy resetting the room and I did not pay attention to the Dobson’s departure knowing we would see each other at lunch the following day.  Unfortunately, that is not what happened.  I got a text on Sunday at 5:00am stating that they were very sick and they would need to take a rain check.  They were too sick to come to lunch.  I was devastated, deeply grieved, because I had missed the moment.  I did not meet him, I did not shake his hand, I did not have a word for him and I was broken. I missed the moment because I thought I would have tomorrow.

God Whispers
In my tears I asked GOD to speak into my soul.  I wanted to know what I was to learn from this event. My heart was FULL of gratitude.  My thoughts were specific; they were emotional, and very real to me.  There were defining moments and specific markers of personal and spiritual growth that resulted from reading his books as well as other authors he introduced me to through Focus on the Family.

I wanted Dr. Dobson to be personally encouraged that his life’s work and ministry touched a real person and shaped a beautiful large family whose legacy is continuing.  I did not want him to grow weary at the end of his life.  I wanted him to know and to hear my words of deep gratitude and appreciation.

God whispered into my heart on Wednesday, November 21 to take time to go and see him.  Don’t let this disappointment stop you from sharing your heart.  Look at the significance of 2013 and don’t miss the moment. In my quiet time on Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) I began thinking about the 2013 year.  My thoughts are always focused this time of year on new desires, new dreams, and new-year activities.  As I began thinking about 2013 the LORD illuminated my soul to the significant NUMBERS that I would celebrate in 2013.

 The Significance of 2013

  • First year of a new decade of life
  • 10 Grandchildren
  • Season 10 of Legacy Principles in September
  • 30 years in the homeschooling movement in August
  • 60 years old (February 16)

1-10-10-30-60 . . . Wow! When I wrote those numbers in my journal, I stopped and asked GOD what can I do this year that will significantly mark my story?

The Dream
From June 1, 2013 until February 16, 2014 I will step away to take a journey of gratitude.  I will take time to visit significant people who have shaped me either through their lives or their books.  I will take time to write my story for my children and my grandchildren.

I will visit people and places to remember the lessons and truths that GOD used to teach me through His Word, through others and through books.  Some of my writings and travels will be done alone, others with Jim, and some will be with my children and my grandchildren.

I will be stepping away from my work and ministry for a defined time period. I will be here but I am asking GOD for time and freedom of schedule in order to make the most of this significant year of my life.

During my sabbatical, Jim will continue in his leadership role.  I am not retiring or resigning but I will not function in my normal role during this time.  I am convinced our leadership team will thrive while I am away.  We are so excited about all that GOD is opening up for us this new school year.

New Things
An incredible opportunity will be shared at the March 5 parent meeting as it relates to youth and aviation.  You don’t want to miss it

Legacy Principles Season 10 will open only for ENGAGE in September.  This is a great environment for men that Jim will be leading. The ENGAGE environment is currently touching 60 men and next year will be a full nine-month season.  There are still a few months left in the current season if you would like to attend.  Here is what a few men said about the session this past week on strength and passivity, “EPIC”,  “Life changing”,  “So grateful!”  Learn more about ENGAGE.

In Closing
I am so grateful for YOU.  I have loved sharing my life and story for 30 years on an open platform.  I trust that being a part of Circle Christian School and Legacy Principles has marked your life.

My prayer for my “Journey of Gratitude” is this: Oh God, will you help me remember all that you have done through others.  Let my words of appreciation and gratitude; ignite another soul, in order for them to go another day.  Bring to my heart the truths and principles that have shaped me in order to share them with my children and grandchildren in order for them to know all that YOU have done in our family story.  Let my words and affirmation of praise bring YOU glory.  In Jesus Name I pray, AMEN!

If you would like to know more about where I will be going and whom I will be visiting, send me an email and I will send you my 1-10-10-30-60 journey summary.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly, lindaw@circlechristianschool.org.  I would love to share more.

By the way, our time with Dr. Dobson is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17 in Colorado Springs. I cannot wait.





From Disappointment to a God Inspired Dream

The annual New Year, New Goals, New You event will be a time to learn how to take disappointment and turn it into a God inspired dream. Every day we face personal challenges and disappointments.  When these challenges come, we have a choice to see them as something to lean into and learn from, or something to ignore, bury or reject.

In this morning event, Linda will share her journey to her dream that began with a deep disappointment.  She will share truths and principles in understanding a God inspired dream.

God has a dream(s) for each person, and it is connected to what He wants done in and through His people.

Will 2013 be a year that you will discover something GREAT?

The morning will offer three sessions:
1.    Noise to a Whisper
2.    Whispers to Plans
3.    Plans to DREAMS

This event will be held on Saturday, January 5 from 9:00am–12:00pm at Metro Church, 1491 East State Road 434 in Winter Springs.  The cost is only $5.00 per person. Registration is required in order to have sufficient materials and refreshments.  Payment will be made at the door.

A book table will be available with resources to support you on this magnificent journey!






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  • MichelleDecember 19, 2012 - 1:39 pm

    This is probably an odd question but when is this event? I heard about it on Z88 but I didn’t see it on their community event calendar. I found this page and I don’t see a date. Please advise, Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • LindaDecember 19, 2012 - 8:22 pm

      The event is on Saturday, January 5 from 9:00-Noon at Metro Church.ReplyCancel

      • JenniferJanuary 4, 2013 - 12:48 pm

        Linda, Is this event open for men or primarily for women? Thanks, JenniferReplyCancel

        • LindaJanuary 4, 2013 - 7:17 pm

          It is open to BOTH….quite a few men are coming with their wives.ReplyCancel

  • Florence Wilson-UebeleJanuary 5, 2013 - 1:54 pm

    I was unable to attend this seminar this morning, but would like to know if you have any plans on doing another workshop as this again. Please e-mail me at the above mentioned address and forward me any information you may have.

    Thank you and God Bless you and your work!ReplyCancel


My personal and leadership life has been marked by Bobb Biehl. Over the last few weeks God has birthed a very big dream in my heart for 2013. I want to share his words that helped me learn how to be a dreamer. Over the next 18 months my dream will focus on shaping my life story and my legacy for generations to come. I cannot wait! I will share more in the coming weeks.

The following was taken from Bobb’s Quick Wisdom.

“There are many forms of energy in the universe … solar energy, caloric energy, caffeine energy, nuclear energy, even social energy. But the most powerful form of energy from a human’s perspective is DREAM ENERGY.

With a dream, days seem short. Without a dream, days drag by.

But what is a dream after all? One day I was chatting with John Maxwell and shared that I see dreams like delicate soap bubbles floating on the wind next to jagged rocks. They are hopes of the heart defined by the question


The answer to this question is your dream. For the non-believer, the same question defines one’s dream with the omission of God.”

If you would like to be added to his Quick Wisdom list, simply go to Quickwisdom.com.

photo credits: MrClean1982 and Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc





A Time to Reflect

This week of Thanksgiving has been a wonderful time of refreshment for me.  The week was simple, the family time was intimate, and the opportunity to think and meditate on all that God has provided was sweet.

It is so important to stop and take time to reflect, refresh, and refrain from the busyness that is screaming for our attention.  I shudder when I see Christmas decorations up after Halloween.  I wonder why I tend to get caught up in what the world does rather than for what my spirit longs.  It is a battle.  It is a discipline to stop and listen to the voice and heart of God.  Fight for it this season and you too will be refreshed.

Here are several practical things that I do which I have found have allowed my heart to stop and be renewed.

  • Find a place where you consistently read your Bible and meditate.  I have found that “my place” has been more valuable than finding a time.
  • Find a way to play music that specifically ministers to your heart.  (I love Pandora radio).
  • Find a time of solitude at least one time during the week where your heart can dream, your mind can imagine, and your spirit can soar!  Do not let the season control and wear you out.  You are the one in charge of your thoughts and time.
  • Practice saying “NO” so you can say “Yes” to what’s important.

Our deepest calling is to know and love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all of our soul, and with all of our mind.  I invite you to make time this season just for YOU to engage with Jesus Christ like never before.  After all He is the one we celebrate!

photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc

An Invitation to Men

I invite you to become part of a conversation, a discussion about what men think about life.  We will focus on what you and I value, what we hope to accomplish, and how we want to be remembered when we are gone.

Engage is a monthly environment for men that is held at two locations:

  • Thursdays at Metro Church in Winter Springs and
  • Fridays at Calvary Assembly Church in Winter Park

Coffee and breakfast will be available beginning at 6:30am.  The event begins at 7:00am and ends promptly at 8:00am.  In our time together we will look to the scriptures for insight related to our roles as men, discuss how it applies to us, and leave with practical steps to implement the truth into our lives.

For those of you that want the bottom line, that’s it.  You can register here.  If you are interested in reading more, the larger back-story is presented below.


The back-story
Many men focus primarily on stuff, the things we do and sometimes even the things we own.  We are concerned for our families but our focus can become material in nature.  We spend so much of ourselves providing and caring for our families that we are often shortsighted to other less tangible things.  We’re not intentionally disengaged, we just spend so much time getting all the stuff done that we never quite get to the other things such as our legacy.

Legacy is not something that men usually spend much time considering when they are young.  In fact, even older men frequently give little thought to the idea until they reach the end of their lives, and then, when they do, rather than enjoying the destination, many are filled with frustration and disappointment.

What about you?  If you are like me, you want to reach the end of your life knowing that as a man (son, brother, husband, father, etc.) you succeeded in being all that God intended for you to be.  But the simple truth is that we must give intentional focus on reaching those objectives or they won’t be achieved.  The qualities we desire do not develop by accident; they are the result of purposeful action and planning. And the heavy lifting doesn’t need to be done alone – we can help each other.

Engage is a no nonsense approach to the importance of our lives, accomplishments, families, and our legacies.  It is not a cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all strategy but an application of God’s timeless truths to our lives.  Each session will seek to enlist, enlighten, and encourage you on your journey.

  • Enlist – by challenging you to make important decisions.
  • Enlighten – by examining real life issues in light of Biblical truth.
  • Encourage – by providing practical action points and resources.

Now, you have a choice to make.  I encourage you to join us.  Register here.

I hope to see you there,





Be There

Dr. James Dobson, summarized his challenge of the evening with two words, “Be there!” On Saturday night Dr. Dobson presented two talks. He opened the evening with a message entitled “Trashing Your Trophies” and closed with a riveting story of his passion for family legacy.

As I sat and listened to his message I was moved to think about all the times I get lost in building my stuff here, for today, for me. His big idea is that when we build our lives around our stuff and our accomplishments, we will never be remembered. He shared the power of a spiritual legacy. What will my children and my grandchildren remember about my spiritual journey and our family story? Will they know that there was nothing more important to me than loving Jesus and loving them? Will they know that I pray for them often, that my heart desires for them to “be there” in Heaven?

Today, inspired by the story we heard last night, I have made a new commitment to Jesus and to my family – I will pray every morning for my children and their children and for the generations I will never know. I will pray that their lives, their souls, their spiritual decisions will be wholly surrendered to Him.

This is a calling of huge proportion. I want to be found faithful and I desire more than anything to hear my Savior say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”