Founded in 1997, Word Weavers International is dedicated to providing a forum for Christian writers to critique one another's work in a face-to-face format, whether in a traditional chapter or in Word Weavers' unique online "pages," so as to improve craft. Writers of all levels are welcome.


Each October, Word Weavers International holds an annual event, Florida Christian Writers Conference, for writers at every level. FCWC is held at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center, which is nestled in the splendor and majesty of a large cluster of live oaks and a wide sparkling lake to bring not only writing instruction but spiritual refreshing. Word Weavers provides scholarships to members and nonmembers alike.


By holding monthly meetings, providing constant contact through news blasts and our newsletter, and by use of social media means, Word Weavers offers its writers a sense of community. Word Weavers is highly recognized within our industry, its members respected for their professionalism and work.

The mission of Word Weavers International is to help members find their unique voice, strive for the exceptional and not settle for the mundane, and to raise the quality of our members’ writing to a publishable level. We endeavor to fulfill our mission and vision by:


 Actively praying for one another’s successes

 Holding regularly-scheduled critique sessions

 Offering annual conferences for in-depth learning and networking

 Providing scholarship funds to conferences to our members

 Sharing information about writing opportunities, conferences, and contests through our newsletter, The Loom

 Offering smaller, genre-specific critique groups in addition to the general critique sessions when possible

 Helping connect members with editors, agents, and other publishing professionals

 Providing guest speakers at meetings, retreats, and workshops

The Sandwich Critique Method


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Swimming Lessons

6/2/2021 9:00:00 AM BY Theresa Parker Pierce



Swimming Lessons

(Lessons from Swimming) 

     As the weather warms up, my thoughts drift to swimming in the summer. I grew up in Kinston, North Carolina but spent weekends and summers in Swansboro on the White Oak River in an old Air Stream trailer. Water safety was not optional. I was expected to take swimming lessons every summer until I mastered the skill. It took me longer than it should have. 

     Emma Webb Park offered free swim lessons. My mother took full advantage of them. When I was little, she sat on the sidelines. As I grew older, I walked to the pool with my best friend, Kim. The lessons were from 10 am to noon. The water was still cold from the night before. To make matters worse, it was hard to learn to swim when they required us to take ice cold showers first. But, we braved it every summer. 

     The lessons started with stations. First, we learned to float on our backs. Breathing was easy that way. The instructor held us up and gradually backed away. As soon as I realized they were gone, I sank like a rock. After mastering the back float, the stomach float was next. That required holding your breath. It was pretty scary. 

     Jumping off the side and holding your breath for longer were additional skills to master. Every summer, I made it through more and more stations but I always fell short when it came to the pushing off, stroking my arms and gliding through the water. Eventually I figured it out. 

     The summer I was twelve, I pined to cross the floating rope and join my friends. I still had a final test. I would have to jump off the high diving board. Now this was no ordinary board, this was used by swim teams. Looking back, I am guessing it was 30 feet up in the air. I broke a sweat even in the summer heat, thinking about being up that high. 

     I could not wait for my turn in the deep end and braced myself for the summer that would usher me into the big leagues. I was tall for my age so I lined up with kids of all sizes and waited my turn. I climbed the ladder, halfway, then everyone watched while I backed down. No one laughed or even cared. 

     I wanted to go home. Instead, I went to the end of the line to watch. Kid after kid successfully jumped, bobbed back up and swam to the edge. The lifeguards watched. They were ready. It was up to me. The next time I climbed the ladder, I kept going and going. At the top, I could see the roof of the changing rooms, the movie theatre across the street and squirrels scampering in the tree tops. The breeze sent a shiver down my spine. At this point, another kid had already climbed halfway up the ladder waiting a turn. 

     I held my nose. I jumped. I hit the water hard. My plastic swim cap filled with air. My feet touched the bottom.  Instinctively I pushed off and burst through the ceiling of the water. I half swam, half dog paddled to the edge gasping for air. No one cheered. No one even noticed. But I did. I passed the test. From that day forward I was a free agent. I could swim anywhere in the pool. The deep end rope no longer was an obstacle. To this day, I can remember the feeling of exhilaration. 

     I was long past the age where your momma sits on the sidelines while you say, “Watch this.” I was 100% totally on my own. I even made a point to jump off the diving board occasionally, just because I could. I celebrated a milestone.

     So often, we have to be our own cheerleader. Life is not always about beating your opponent. Winning can just be facing down your own giants. We all have them. I went on to win other battles for which I was not recognized. Parallel parking, packing a car and preparing all the parts of a meal so they come off at the right time do not win blue ribbons. We celebrate alone. The older I get, the less I need public praise. 



Theresa Parker Pierce lives in Historic Salisbury, North Carolina, where she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She has 35 years of experience teaching reading and history. Two-time Rowan Salisbury Teacher of the Year, Theresa enjoys storytelling about her childhood in eastern North Carolina and giving tours in Rowan County. Her manuscript, Up Dunn's Mountain won first place for Young Adult Literature at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. 

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