Clearly I Have Something To Learn About Book Marketing #ForAllWhoWanderBook

Jul

16

Posted by on Jul 16, 2019 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Clearly I Have Something To Learn About Book Marketing #ForAllWhoWanderBook

So, it’s 6:30pm on Day Two of Amazon Prime Day, and it JUST occurred to me that *my* book is eligible for the five dollar #PRIMEBOOK19 coupon since it’s already listed on Amazon. Let’s just say it’s been a busy few weeks, and this very minute I have my darling niece and nephew underfoot, and it never occurred to me until RIGHT THE SECOND that it might be a smart idea to share about it. With $5 off, For All Who Wander: Why Knowing God is Better Than Knowing It All is just $11.99!!   The book will release January 14, 2020, but it’s available right now for pre-sale; if the price happens to fall between now and launch day, you’ll be charged the lower price. And if you’ve already pre-ordered the book (DO tell me in comments if you have–you have NO idea how that will encourage me!), pick up the companion Journey Guide for just $4.99!   Okay, friends…I’m off to wrangle a wildling or two or maybe teach them the joy of catching lightning in the palms of their hands. Thank you in advance if you end up buying the...

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Want To Do Something Wonderful And Important Today?

May

14

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Uncategorized |

I suppose I’ve had a case of Irregular Blog Syndrome for years now, posting sporadically and with increasing infrequency with the exception of my monthly (and beloved) posts for (in)courage. Daily postings were once my norm and practice, hard to believe in today’s climate; blog posts would now be considered long form compared to Twitter, FaceBook, and Instagram. But it’s not that I haven’t been writing at all — I’ve penned well over 80,000 words in For All Who Wander and its companion Journey Guide. Apparently IBS is not the same thing as IWS (Irregular Writer Syndrome). Still, my blog has been largely neglected for a lot of reasons, some of which are explained in my book, and others that simply reflect the general, downward trend. Have I considered closing up shop for good? Sure. So, why do I keep it around? Because there are elements I still love after all this time– One of my favorite reasons for continuing to blog is to lend my voice to those who are hidden, marginalized, or never had a voice to begin with. With that in mind, I’m excited to spotlight Mercy House Global Giving Day, a day set aside to let all women know they are priceless, and to raise awareness and funds for four special organizations. SheIsPriceless.org Each group has a specific ask, and you can trust that your dollars are going to a worthy cause. Click the logos below to learn more, and then open your checkbook and give generously. When you lay your head on your pillow tonight, you will have done something truly important and wonderful :). Search the hashtags #SheIsPriceless and #PutOnYourPearls to see and learn much, much more! And, thank you in advance for sharing this post; a simple Like and/or Share using the blue FaceBook buttons below is an easy way to do so. Bonus points and extra love for inviting your friends and family to support these opportunities,...

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Powerful, Remarkable, and Beautiful Truth About Easter

Apr

20

Posted by on Apr 20, 2019 in (in)courage, Faith, Holidays, Uncategorized |

Today is Easter Eve, though I’ve never heard it called such a thing, and I’m finding myself on a sweet stroll down memory lane. Won’t you join me? What characterized the Easters of your childhood? What made this cherished church holiday special for you? A brand new outfit? Waking up to an Easter basket brimming with goodies? A sunrise service or Sunday afternoon feast with your family, close and extended? A city-wide egg hunt ablaze in color and chaos? Day-by-day deconstructing a Resurrection egg set to examine tiny symbols that represented the life of Christ? With a big grin and a bit of horror, I recall the coordinating pastel dresses my sister and I wore when I was about four, complete with crunchy crinoline skirts, white bowler hats, and shiny patent leather shoes. “Fancy” is relative, yes? I also remember being a beast when it came to hunting for Easter eggs. Never was I more fierce or competitive than when a contest for most eggs found or a golden egg was at stake. It was in your best interest not to get in my way because you just might come face to face with a 35-pound steamroller determined to win a prize. Are your earliest Easter memories similar or something entirely different? Fast forward many years to when I became a mother with three children of my own. It never occurred to me until right now how closely the practices of my own childhood inspired Easter traditions for our family. New, coordinating outfits for our daughter and two sons; maybe not crinoline for Rachel, but all three matchy-matchy (until I finally learned that didn’t actually have to be a thing). Baskets filled and waiting right outside their bedroom doors. Attending church somewhere, wherever we happened to be that morning. A glorious lunch with our extended family (or friends when we had to be apart), anchored by glazed ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, and way too many sweets. And an egg hunt — always an egg hunt — except now my competitive beast mode for finding the prized or most eggs was proffered for my babies. Memories are golden when they connect our present to happy or special moments from our past, aren’t they? While it’s unhealthy to live in the past or to become stuck in a rut of longing for the “good ol’ days,” telling and re-telling the stories of our lives can build unity, familiarity, and identity among family members. These are good things. Easter traditions, in terms of norm and practice, vary from family to family, church to church, denomination to denomination, and even culture to culture. How we commemorate this holy holiday doesn’t matter a bit, but why we celebrate Easter is essential.  Please continue reading The Powerful, Remarkable, Beautiful Truth About Easter over at (in)courage. And, please, do share your thoughts in...

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Change Your Attitude For the Better Right Now! (Plus, a giveaway–scroll for details)

Jan

18

Posted by on Jan 18, 2019 in Life Philosophy, Personal, Uncategorized | 17 comments

Change Your Attitude For the Better Right Now!            (Plus, a giveaway–scroll for details)

I had totally missed it — noticing I ended 2018 similarly to how I began: writing about an attitude of “getting to” do this or that instead of “having to” in both January and December. Maybe once the idea slipped into my psyche, it quietly settled there and began changing my entire outlook from that point forward. I’m a fan and advocate for choosing a Word of the Year, #OneWord that sets a compass point (in contrast to a destination), a trajectory, a direction for life. It’s not a think intended to confine or box you in. On the contrary, it’s liberating. If you can love a word, I loved my entirely-made-up word from last year–OYTO. Sweetly inspired by a tee shirt a friend gave me, OYTO was a fierce battle cry, wrapped opportunity-gifts that begged to be opened. My intention stirred awareness that led to results. Simply put, I saw things differently because I wanted to see things differently, and that affected how I responded. The same is true for being a Get-to Girl. Shifting my attitude from having to do everything — even needing to do anything — gives me a sense of control because I understand I have a choice about my attitude. Necessary chores that could potentially seed resentment, martyrdom, or leave you feeling taken for granted suddenly become opportunities to serve your family. Irritations that stem from people being so human and imperfect are a catalyst for you to remember everyone is fighting a battle, and this is your chance be kind, to live the gospel by your response. We aren’t always able to control our circumstances or the obstacles and opportunities that come our way, but we can control our response. That’s powerful. To me, the essence of being a Get-to Girl is 1 Corinthians 10:31: So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. (CSB) Every move you make, including the attitude that companions action, can be offered to the glory of God. Should be done for the glory of God. It’s one thing when we’re facing opportunity or favorable circumstance; that’s when it’s easy. But there have been seasons when my life feels out of control, when a situation is bearing down, or relationships that matter to me are fractured, or grief feels unshakable, or I don’t know what else…. Knowing I can choose how I respond gives me at least a modicum of control, which is incredibly encouraging and empowering. This is much more than turning a frown upside down. It’s an intentional decision to frame your life and everything within it in light of The Light. Even if “Get-to” isn’t your word of the year, will you join me? Giveaway time!! Today, DaySpring is releasing A Workbook Guide to Bible Journaling, “filled with fun techniques for painting, hand lettering, stickering, and stamping…” and I’m here to tell you, SO MUCH ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE NEWBIE BIBLE JOURNALER. But the content is substantial enough to offer the long-time journaler plenty of new tips and ideas. If you’ve wanted to try your hand at Bible journaling but didn’t have a clue where to start, consider this a master class featuring Shanna Noel and others at a bargain price. The first 600 people who order...

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How Can a Dessert Be So Delicious, Fancy, AND Simple?

Dec

28

Posted by on Dec 28, 2018 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

A Tiramisu Recipe ANYONE can make I still remember the first time I heard the word “tiramisu;” I didn’t even know what it was and had to ask our friends Christi and Frankie to repeat themselves a few times before I finally understood. They had returned from a trip to Italy, and if memory serves me correctly, they were raving about one of their favorite things–a decadent, delicious Italian dessert I have since come to know, love, and make for special occasions, or really, any occasion that calls for a smidgen of fancy. The first time I tasted tiramisu was when my friend, Isabel, made it. It’s possible I had more than my share of dessert. This is telling because typically I want only a bite of something sweet after dinner. To devour a complete serving (or two) is high compliment to its maker. The benefit of a dessert’s enjoyment has to outweigh the cost of its calories. In other words… Mercy! Just look at those layers of deliciosity!! Mmmmm! Tiramisu’s deliciousness > the cost of its calories. Since then, I’ve lost count of the times my dinner has ended with tiramisu. I’ve had it at chef-owned restaurants and large Italian chains; I was lucky enough to order it in Italy and Germany the year we lived abroad. And, remarkably, this ridiculously easy recipe stands up to them all (or maybe I’m just lowbrow with a common, unsophisticated palate). A more traditional recipe calling for eggs and milk is all well and good, but for the taste and simplicity, I really do prefer this recipe. If you’re looking for a magnificent dessert to wow your family and friends, do try this one! A New Year’s gathering would be the perfect time to try it. And if you do? Please come back and let us know your thoughts. Tiramisu Ingredients: Ingredients: 1 8-ounce container of mascarpone cheese ½ cup granulated sugar 2 ½ cups of whipping cream, divided 1 cup of strong coffee/espresso* 1?4  cup of Baileys Irish cream (coffee liquor) 2, 3-ounce packages of lady fingers 1 teaspoon cocoa or shaved dark chocolate Instructions: Beat 2 cups of the whipping cream (not all!) until soft peaks form; be sure they’re stiff enough to hold their shape.In larger bowl, beat cheese, sugar, and remaining ½ cup of whipping cream at medium speed until incorporated and creamy.Fold whipping cream into cheese mixture.*Stir Baileys into coffee. Carefully split lady fingers in ½. Place one set (one quarter, depending on your package) in the bottom of a trifle bowl or on a platter.Evenly and generously brush the cut side of the lady fingers with the coffee mixture (use about 1?4 cup per layer). Top with 1?4 of the cheese/whipped cream mixture. Repeat layers three times.Chill at least two hours and sprinkle with cocoa or chocolate shavings just prior to serving. Additional notes: Isabel’s original recipe called for 1 tablespoon of instant coffee granules. If you don’t have espresso/strong coffee, that substitution works fine.The lady fingers will be very moist; don’t let that intimidate you. Use the entire amount of liquid in your recipe. A silicone pastry brush is preferred to nylon or natural bristles; I’ve found they’re less likely to shed when using.I don’t quite spread the cheese/cream mixture to the edge of the...

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How Ringing Bells Puts the “Merry” in Christmas

Dec

19

Posted by on Dec 19, 2018 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

2018 with one of my favorite humans in the world. Six years ago I began a tradition that would immediately become a beloved holiday favorite: Ringing bells for the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle fundraiser.  I had no idea two hours could pass by so quickly, or that I had so many misconceptions about bell ringing and would learn so much (See 10 Things Salvation Army Bell Ringers Want You To Know to see what I mean). The first two years I flew solo, but ever since I’ve had a few partners in crime. Ringing with special friends had added great joy to the tradition.  I’ve learned a few more things since that first experience, and my great hope in sharing is that I might persuade a few more friends to join this happy little army of neighbors helping neighbors. 1. Ringing the bells with friends makes the time go by almost too fast! 2015 fun with friends young and not-so-young. As is the case in so much in live, we really are better together. 2.  Ringing the bells is leading by example. 2016. I suppose I had to wear lipstick to keep up with S’s and EC’s darling sequined Santa hats and flashy Christmas light necklaces <3. Every single year since I reported for “duty,” at least one passer-by has remarked they’ve always wanted to be a bell ringer. A joyful countenance, a kind word, and looking folks in the eye is an invitation to join this lovely work. I tell everyone who mentions it to Just Do It! You can find information about your local organization by starting at the national homepage and searching your Zip code.  3. Ringing with children is an incredible secret weapon. Ringing with twins is almost unfair. 2017. It’s usually mild in middle Georgia, but last year we were chilllllly! When I asked my friend Courtney if her twin daughters could ring with me a few years ago, they were only five years old. Who knew that little girls would be such a magnet to people’s wallets? More often than note, generous givers put dollars or coins in each girls hand to stuff in the red kettle. Miss EC and Miss S have become expert dollar-and-coin-stuffer-inners.  4.  A Chance To Mentor 2018. What a precious way to watch these girls grow up through the years! The twins are now eight years old, and they have me wrapped around those little pinkies now more than ever. They’re chatty and they tell you lots of things, but an hour together is a chance for me to encourage and affirm them, too. This year, their mama didn’t need to tell them what to do and neither did I. They immediately told every gift-giver “Thank you!” and “Merry Christmas!”  I get a bonus “paycheck” of the best hugs ever, too. That THEY have come to revere this as a special Christmas tradition is the sweetest gift back to me.  5. Making it a family affair triples to joy. 2018 with my baby boy. I gave birth to a giant apparently. I wish we had begun this tradition when our children were young and we could have volunteered as a family. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and since you can’t do a thing about the...

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The Reason It’s Crucial to Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

Dec

10

Posted by on Dec 10, 2018 in Art of Simple, Health, Uncategorized | 2 comments

The Reason It’s Crucial to Put On Your Oxygen Mask First

If you’ve flown commercially, you’re undoubtedly familiar with standard safety procedure; it goes something like this: In the event of a loss in cabin pressure, secure your own oxygen mask first, before helping your children or others.The reason is simple and practical; a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching your brain (hypoxia), will render you useless. In almost no time you could begin experiencing blurred or tunnel vision, hot and cold flashes, euphoria, numbness, tingling, apprehension, nausea, dizziness, headaches, fatigue and belligerence (source). How in the world can you help a panicked preschooler if you’re vomiting and loopy? It is critical to take care of ourselves first in order to be able to take care of others. Well beyond flying, the principle has application in daily living. What first comes to mind when you consider what it means to take care of yourself? Diet? Exercise?  A creative outlet, cultivating a hobby, or indulging in a day at the spa? Mental wellbeing? All of these are important, true, but there’s something else so critical it is potentially life-saving: hearing what your body is trying to tell you. Are you listening? For years I struggled with insomnia. I chalked up my sleeplessness to age, hormones, stress–you name it, but I never considered I might be hurting myself by ignoring the issue.While I suspected I suffered from an actual sleep disorder, I kept holding out that over time my issue would resolve itself (spoiler: it never did). When I finally got around to talking to a doctor who specialized in sleep-related issues, I learned there were reasons to be concerned about my health. If, indeed, I had sleep apnea, I was at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, Type 2 diabetes, and hormone fluctuations resulting in cravings for carbs and sweets. After a little education, I realized my body had been practically screaming at me to pay attention. Routinely, I was waking up from frantic dreams and sometimes nightmares, often including alarms, sirens, and even occasionally me screaming at myself to WAKE! UP! Once roused from sleep, I’d find myself out of breath with my heart jackhammering like I had just run a marathon. It (slowly) dawned on me these dreams were my body’s way of telling me I needed to breathe. My body may as well have been shouting Danger, Will Robinson! because I had literally stopped breathing long enough to deprive oxygen to my brain and raise my blood pressure. Ignoring the warnings wasn’t just stupid; it was potentially dangerous and even life-threatening. The thing is, especially when you’re younger, you don’t expect a “worse case scenario.” But you and I are always our best advocates for our own health. We cannot be satisfied with hearing what we want to hear just because it’s good news. My sweet, young friend Stephanie died in her early twenties, leaving behind a newborn, because her doctor had dismissed an ongoing issue she experienced while breastfeeding as something to do with a blocked milk duct when, in actuality, she had an aggressive form of cancer. One Friday morning another friend, Louann, at the time a mama to two young toddlers, woke up and couldn’t see. While alarmed, this otherwise very smart nurse-friend of mine dismissed it due to work fatigue, the stresses of little sleep and family demands,...

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Stand with Secret Believers This Christmas

Nov

30

Posted by on Nov 30, 2018 in Brand partnership, Christmas, Do Something!, Faith | 4 comments

Stand with Secret Believers This Christmas

Today, through a sponsored partnership with Open Doors, I’m sharing their message about something important to know. This is a season when many Americans have already begun decorating their homes for the holidays, a lovely tradition most of us take for granted. Please read and then act if you feel led to support this worthwhile initiative. In North Korea, celebrating Christmas is illegal and believers must celebrate the birth of Jesus in extreme secrecy or risk arrest and life in a hard labor camp. For the citizens of Brunei, celebrating Christmas can get you five years in prison and owning a Bible will get you nine. In countries like Somalia, Christmas was banned several years ago. An announcement goes out every year reminding citizens that it’s illegal. And in countries like Saudi Arabia, churches, crosses and Christian meetings of any kind are illegal all over the country. All over the world, Christians will celebrate the birth of Jesus in late December or early January. But in many places, like Somalia, Iran, North Korea and other areas where it’s dangerous to follow Jesus, openly participating in Christmas can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. For these Christians, celebrating Christmas must be done in secret. There will be no parties or gift exchanges, and no church services or worship gatherings allowed. In places around the world, Christmas can be a time of fear and isolation instead of a celebration. One believer from a Muslim background in Southeast Asia says, “We can’t celebrate Christmas openly…We can’t go to church and join in the celebration. Why? Because we are wanted by the government. Some of us can’t even tell our families we are Christians.” Nevertheless, faithful Christians remind themselves that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). This Christmas, we have the opportunity to illuminate that light and remind isolated Christians around the world who must worship in secret that they are not alone … that the worldwide Church stands with them.   You can make a difference today for secret believers this Christmas in specific and practical ways: Pray with them. Visit OpenDoorsUSA.org/SecretChristmas for prayer resources from secret believers around the world. You’ll find videos, prayer points and unique ways to connect to your persecuted family. Enter their stories. Open Doors has created two resources to help you explore the stories of the persecuted church and to connect with your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. You can download a free Secret Christmas eBook and even a Secret Christmas children’s book to read to your kids this holiday season. Join the fight Don’t make persecution a seasonal issue, make it part of your daily life. It’s in the very DNA of the church to care for those who are suffering. Through Open Doors you can download a Prayer App, sign up for regular prayer updates and stay connected to the stories and needs of your persecuted family. Together, we can make a significant difference in the lives, families and ministries of secret believers this Christmas and beyond as we stand with our persecuted...

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A New Month, A Special Opportunity! #1000Mercies #OYTO

Nov

01

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 in #OYTO, (in)courage | 4 comments

A New Month, A Special Opportunity! #1000Mercies #OYTO

  Soon enough I’ll share some thoughts about what I learned by writing a book (surprising lessons, by the way), but for now, I’m coming out of my deep, deep book-writing hole to share something that well may be one of those “thousand points of light” President Bush spoke of three decades ago: (in)courage and Mercy House Global are “linking arms to provide a brighter, dignified future for God’s daughters in need.”  We’re looking for 1,000 women to join (in)courage in partnership with Mercy House Global. Please say you’ll join us?   Our goal between November 1st and November 16th is for 1,000 women to donate $15 or more to Mercy House to help provide sustainable, dignified jobs for women in poverty around the world. This is one tiny, practical thing we can each do — in Jesus’ name — to make a huge difference in a woman’s life. If you aren’t familiar with Mercy House Global founded by Kristen Welch, please, please take time to read Changing a Life, Changing the World by one of my oldest blog friends, Mary Carver. You’ll understand why it’s a no-brainer to ask for your support; this is important work making a tangible difference in the lives of those who are impacted.  I’ll have a post up at incourage on Tuesday that tells you a little more about Kristen’s story, but until then I really, really hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about the #1000mercies Movement. The first 1,000 friends who make a minimum $15 donation to this initiative will receive a darling Christmas ornament as a thank you gift, hand-stitched by a beautiful Kenya woman who is part of the Street Hope artisan group. What a lovely token of remembrance. Don’t think you have to wait to put up your Christmas tree to display it, either. To keep Mercy House Global and its important work present in my thoughts, I’ve hung my little ornament on my desk lamp; if I’m not mistaken, my miniature disco ball is casting a thousand points of light in its direction.     This is an OYTO moment, Lovies, it’s time to seize an opportunity! DO let me know if you take part, and regardless, would you consider sharing about #1000mercies with your friends and family? I’m hoping we’ll shatter that $15,000 goal and need to come up with an alternative thank you gift because so many of you say “yes” to this special cause.  ...

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Preorder Your (in)courage Devotional Bible & Receive A Free Leather Journal!

Sep

28

Posted by on Sep 28, 2018 in (in)courage, For All Who Wander |

Preorder Your (in)courage Devotional Bible & Receive A Free Leather Journal!

  Hello darlings.   While I’m anchored to my writing desk racing to complete the rough draft of my manuscript for For All Who Wander (praypraypray!), I wanted to let you know the beautiful (in)courage Devotional Bible is available for preorder now! Order by Sunday and in addition to a 20% savings, you’ll receive a leather journal as your preorder gift.   There is nothing else out there quite like the (in)courage Devotional Bible. Here’s why:   There are four cover types to choose from; each is beautiful in its own way on the outside, but it’s the inside that counts, right?  God’s word (CSB version) is the only thing that has the power to transform your heart, but there are extras that make this Bible special: 312 devotions by 122 (in)courage community writers 10 distinct thematic reading plans 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible Journaling space Plus – FREE (in)courage leather journal and so much more They’re also competitively priced on Amazon but you won’t receive the preorder incentive. Would you please consider ordering through one of my links? As an affiliate, I’ll receive a small referral fee, which I plan to pass right along to Compassion International.  (Invite your friends to order through my links, too–please and thank you) DO check out the video below to learn more, and if you click around the (in)courage Bible website, you’ll get to hear from a few authors about why they think this Bible is special. But, please, pop back over here to order your own copy, and a few more for gifts while they’re on sale and come with your preorder gift.    ...

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