Category Archives: Writing

What I’ve Learned From Five Years of Blogging

Five years ago this week I started blogging. I jumped in knowing that for a publisher to consider my book proposal (what is now Get Your Story Straight), they would want to see I had an online presence. My following wasn’t huge (still isn’t by most bloggers’ standards) but God orchestrated the details of connecting me to New Growth Press. To think five years later I’m in the process of book 3 with them I wouldn’t have ever imagined.

Back then I just wondered if I would have any new content to post the following week. I still wonder at times. But more often than not I have more to write about than the actual time to do it. However, I have managed (more or less) to stick to my goal of one post per week.

Writing gurus say you don’t have to be published to be a writer, you just need to stay in the daily and weekly cycle of writing words. 500 words a day, or whatever goal a writer sets for themselves, just something to make it a habit and to hone in on your skills. I think it’s helping, though I know my grammatical errors and spelling mistakes might make you think otherwise!

Besides that I’ve discovered three things (good and bad) along the way of making this habit a hobby that demands the time of a job:

  1. Writing helps me process my thoughts and directs me to the Lord. Sometimes I start a post and don’t know at all where it’s going. It may be a topic or personal situation I’m struggling with, or feeling emotional over, but haven’t yet identified exactly why I’m feeling the way I am. Writing helps me sort through it, giving me words to what I don’t even know is going on in my head and heart. In fact, many times it’s upon finishing a post that my “Aha” moment comes and realize I either figured out the answer to what I was mulling over, or moved from a place of anxiety, fear or despair back to trusting in God’s goodness.

2. Writing gives me confidence and at the same time makes me vulnerable. The more I’ve written, the more I’ve found my voice. Through studying, reading, thinking and writing on certain topics in particular I feel more confident now speaking with “authority” despite not having the formal seminary or counseling training I wish I did. But at the same time, to put words out there publicly is to mark yourself for criticism and critique. This is where I have had to wrestle with my identity being secure in Christ. Only his opinion of me matters, so if someone disagrees with what I’ve written, or writes a review or comment that I feel is ungrounded I don’t have to justify myself in an efffort to make myself look better. This isn’t always easy and can shoot right through any confidence.

3. Spending time crafting the words for a post and honing in on the message I want to convey sometime feels like a waste of time. This goes along with #2 in that I must find my worth securely in Christ. To write a post and then feel like it wasn’t as widely read or embraced as I had hoped feels deflating. It also helps me better understand what my husband and other pastors go through after spending so much time preparing a sermon and then feeling like it falls on deaf ears (or in a church plant like ours that no one was there to hear it!). When this is the case with my blogging is when I wonder why I spend the time doing what I do any maybe I need to get a real, paying job. But then I go back to #1 and remind myself that even if no one reads a word I write, writing is beneficial to me.

To that end, I will keep on writing and encouraging others to do the same. It doesn’t need to be a blog or a book, a prayer journal is a fantastic way to help wrestle through your own thoughts or make notes about what you are learning in scripture or otherwise. If you take up writing in any form, as a new habit this coming year, I would love to hear what you learn. To five more years of blogging…

Growing in Grace Together,

 

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Parenting & Grace: A Podcast with Author Jessica Thompson

Back at a conference in October in the beach front church of La Jolla Presbyterian I had the privilege of joining Cameron Cole, founder and chairman of Rooted Ministry, for a podcast interview with Jessica Thompson, co-author of Everyday Grace: Infusing All Your Relatioships with the Love of Jesus and Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus.

Though I was a little nervous about the recording, I was more than thrilled with the opportunity to visit with a kindred soul about grace and the gospel as it pertains to parenting.  But my favorite part happened off air when she and I and my friend Anna Harris got to spend an hour’s downtime just chatting about life, being moms, and raising teens.

As women at the conference we were in the minority, and as moms of teens I believe we were the only ones, so we naturally gravitated toward each other. Just in our short time together, Jessica quickly turned from someone I admired from afar through her books and fun podcast (Front Porch with the Fitzeswith her brother Joel and mother, Elyze Fitzpatrick, to someone I wished I could do daily life with.

But even if our physical paths never cross again (I hope they will!), her imprint is bound to my coming book.. Jessica has graciously written the foreward for Face Time!

I am beyond humbled by her words and endorsement, and can’t wait to share it in the coming months. But for now, if you aren’t already a fan, I think you will be after listening to our podcast (link below). Then, go get your hands on her books!

Link to listen to our podcast: Why Kids Need to Heart the Message of Grace (Side note: The sound improves after the first part so keep with it!)

Links to Jessica’s books:

Would you be interested in being apart of my upcoming Book Launch team? Submit your email on the top right-hand side of the home page to receive all blog posts and the monthly newsletters in your inbox.

A Year of Getting Your Story Straight

October 12th, 2015…

dsc_0116-3I thought the date would never come. After an almost three-year-long process from proposal to writing, to then editing and marketing I counted down the days until October 12th – the day my first book, Get Your Story Straight, would be released. And so did my husband (aka my resident theologian!) who devoted LOTS of his time too!

When Get Your Story Straight finally arrived on my doorstep.
When Get Your Story Straight finally arrived on my doorstep.

It’s no joke when you hear of an author comparing writing a book to giving birth because that is just what it feels like!  And much like with a baby’s due date, the closer the date gets, the slower the days go and the more ready you are.

Of course, the year since has flown by! With a year ago today being the day I celebrated with the most thoughtful and supportive friends who figured out alongside me, “What is a book launch party anyway!?” Only to be followed by more friends and family in multiple cities who shared the joy of my book-baby.

These Edmond, Oklahoma ladies outdid themselves with the best book launch barn party I could've imagined!
These Edmond, Oklahoma ladies outdid themselves with the best book launch barn party I could’ve imagined!
So many awesome friends in Dallas, Texas who came for Get Your Story Straight.
So many awesome friends in Dallas, Texas who came for Get Your Story Straight.
Waco, Texas Book Launch party at Common Grounds Coffee near Baylor's campus and the famous Magnolia Market.
Waco, Texas Book Launch party at Common Grounds Coffee near Baylor’s campus and the famous Magnolia Market.
Houston, Texas Get Your Story Straight book launch party and reuniting of old friends!
Houston, Texas Get Your Story Straight book launch party and reuniting of old friends!
Nashville, Tennessee Book Launch Parties
Nashville, Tennessee Book Launch Parties
Dallas, Texas teens Getting Their Story Straight this summer after Beach Retreat Week.
Getting Their Story Straight after Beach Retreat Week.

After a celebratory fall, life returned to normal. But I have continued to be encouraged by the churches, ministries, small groups and individuals around the country who have picked up Get Your Story Straight. To all of you – THANK YOU!

My hope for Get Your Story Straight and reason for writing it is that teens would really see who Jesus is for them and how that translates into everday life.

The one story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation is about Jesus and what he did. Not so we might look at as an instruction book or how-to book and ask “What Would Jesus Do?” so we can try to live more like him.  That’s law, which holds no power to change hearts. Yet sadly what is too often passed off as what Christianity is. But when we see  what he DID for us – that’s grace. And grace changes everything.

When we know the story, we begin to see everything about us, our daily lives, relationships and the world through gospel-centered lenses. So while Get Your Story Straight is deep theologically, the application of it is absolutely practical. And from the feedback I’ve gotten this is what teens like. It’s not dumbed down, but challenging in a way that grows them in gospel grace and understanding.

Mother/son duo Getting Their Story Straight together.
Mother/son duo Getting Their Story Straight together.
Aspen, Colorado teens Getting Their Story Straight over breakfast together.
Aspen, Colorado teens Getting Their Story Straight over breakfast together.

If you or your teenagers has been reading I would love to hear how it has impacted you. What have you liked/or didn’t like? Had a hard time with? See more clearly now? Message me, or if you would, take a minute to write an Amazon review to the benefit of other readers.

As you can see from the photos scattered throughout, Get Your Story Straight works great for individual devotional time, one-on-one mentoring, parent/child study, small group resource for Bible studies and Sunday school classes. If it sounds like something perfect for your teen you can order it HERE. Or if you need to order in bulk, please contact me and I will put you in touch with the right person at New Growth Press.

Eight grade girls small group Getting their Story Straight!
Eight grade girls small group Getting their Story Straight!
Some of my Bible study girls - whose names appear in the acknowledgement section:)
Some of my Bible study girls – whose names appear in the acknowledgement section:)

Growing in Grace Together!

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