Allllll the praise hands that it’s Friday. Seriously, y’all. I am looking forward to a relaxing typical fall weekend because it’s been so crazy here lately. Today, I thought I’d share some cute things I will buy everyone if I ever win the lottery. Don’t think I won’t seriously go all Oprah on you…
If I ever moved, I would light this homemade bread candle until it smelled like home. All of the comfort, none of the gluten! Freckled Hen Farmhouse has the cutest branding and is only located about two hours from me! Their shop has tons of awesome things!
Someone named Swagrid posted this on Facebook, and I couldn’t agree more: rain, bed fort, Harry Potter movies, and pizza. This day is near the top of my fall wishlist — except maybe stew instead of pizza 🙂
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I just got a massive book box this week. (More on that next week.) But as soon as my book allowance replenishes — it’s magical like that — get thee to my bedside table, gorgeous YA covers and favorite food bloggers!
What’s on your fall wishlist? Is your perfect fall day in the forecast this weekend?
Welcome, October! This is our front door in progress. We still need to get the big pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, and if I’m super ambitious/have a craft night with my friend Cait, I want to make a wreath!
First order of business, the winner of the Can’t Help FALLing Giveaway is Meghan Gorecki! But if you didn’t win, the Kindle edition of Close to You just went on sale TODAY for $1.99. Get it while it’s hot. I promise you’ll gobble it up just in time for October 11 when you can get Can’t Help Falling!
When we last spoke, I was in the thick of the final revision read-through for my upcoming release! With the help of gracious family members and a friend who took the kids Friday night so I could press send, it. is. finished. Fly away, little rewrites! And please don’t return too banged up in the next iteration when the real editing begins 🙂
This is the wild-haired, crazy-eyed look of someone who has finished her deadline…and begun another! For my next trick, I shall write a novella this month. I have a fun spread set up in my bullet journal to track my progress (yes, that says track, not truck!):
This is my big goal for the month, to be accomplished with early mornings, a little caffeine, and lots of grace. During my normal work hours, I have some fun client projects to finish, and in the second half of the month, I am working on my next proposal for Heartwarming plus any edits they may send my way.
There are so many fall reads I can’t wait to get my hands on! I will share those after I turn my own book in, but I wanted to share the love about one I’ve ALREADY read:
It’s no secret how much I loved Kara Isaac’s debut novel, Close to You, but the follow-up story coming October 11 is special and enchanting in its own way. Goodness, I loved Can’t Help Falling so much with its mixture of characters dealing with hard pasts, sizzling romantic chemistry, Kara’s signature humor, redemption, and of course, all the nods to Narnia.
Ahem, it was also a 4.5-star TOP PICK by RT Book Reviews, which is a HUGE deal in the book world. So I promise I’m not just biased as her critique partner 🙂
To celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of Kara Isaac’s first book, Close to You, in which a disgraced scholar running from her past and an entrepreneur chasing his future find themselves thrown together—and fall in love—on a Tolkien tour of New Zealand. I’ll also throw in a $15 Amazon gift card you can use for all of your anticipated fall reads. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before October 1.
Good luck, and seriously, if you haven’t discovered Kara Isaac, be sure to add these books to brighten up your fall and winter reading list!
Last night, my husband sent me to my coffee shop to work, and the beans they roast and grind in-house did their magical thing to my inspiration as usual. I’m telling you, I send this coffee to my sisters, and they report similar happenings when drinking it!
Yesterday that extra cinnamon-y iced chai and well-intended fall decor cured my case of the Mondays on a 97-degree Tuesday that involved a major case of the blahs + forgotten school birthday treats + an iCloud hack with hundreds of texts sent from my phone to Asia in the span of a minute + troubleshooting with Apple customer service and changing/updating every password I own on every device just to be sure. #firstworldproblems
Do you know what else is keeping my inspiration alive besides the aroma of magical beans in the air? GOOGLE KEEP! I mentioned in the last Friday Mixing Bowl post that I discovered it through a friend who knows my nerdy ways, and now that I’ve had the chance to tinker with it, I can tell you that nothing sorts my mess of a mind map better than this app!
At any given time, there are a million things going on in this brain, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten an idea or story inspiration and said, “THIS IS SO COOL THAT I’LL NEVER FORGET IT.” But after immediately falling back to sleep or a day of client social media or a trip in the car with a certain child I love who is constantly singing — zap! — the idea is gone. Probably to wherever the socks are hiding from the dryer.
In Google Keep, you can add/capture images and audio, make calendar items/reminders directly from the app, and you can create a new note in either checklist or freestyle text format. Plus, each entry can be color-coded and tagged for organizational purposes. Allll the praise hands on that one!
I added it to my home screen so I can just push a button and add to the file to prevent me from forgetting things on the go. I can’t tell you how much I love it!
Where are you working today? Are any new discoveries saving your life right now?
I wasn’t going to do a Friday Mixing Bowl post until next week, but there was so much goodness to share today! It’s birthday week for my little lady, so we are soaking up every minute celebrating. Here’s what else we’ve been up to:
Fall arrives in my world when I say it arrives, okay? 🙂 I’ve been burning my favorite fall scent and making lots of soups with the hope that the temperature will soon get the memo. As Jen Hatmaker said this week: September, you need to get right with God.
My Huckleberry and I cleaned up nicely for a belated birthday date to this bohemian pizzeria downtown. It was enchanting and divine and delicious! Also–mushy alert–after 8.5 years of marriage, this guy still made my knees weak when I saw him walking toward me in the parking lot at the gym yesterday. All the heart eyes for my Huckleberry!
The home stretch is in sight on this round of rewrites, thanks to real coffee. Yes, you read that correctly. Real coffee. Voluntarily. Even if only once.
May I introduce you to the most perfect shirt for me in the history of the world? Okay, maybe tied with something that has Chewbacca’s face on it. I am a sucker for 90s R&B — sucker! — and though love is more than just all the feels, those songs, y’all. *Swoon*
My hip flexors are lifting up the praise hands because our gym added a Holy Yoga class just when they need it in the very middle of the week! While I’ve always loved yoga for the physical benefits and the mental benefits always taken in the context of my Christian beliefs, these classes actually draw from specific scriptures and biblical truths woven throughout the stretching and bending and balancing. If you need me on Wednesdays at noon, you know where I’ll be.
Speaking of yoga, my brilliant friend Katie is developing an amazing resource. If you have a creative bone in your body, please take her quick, two-minute survey to help make her project as awesome as it can be. If you’ve never done yoga, I promise you don’t know what you’re missing and your body and renewed relaxation will thank you!
In the spirit of fall, here is the shade I’ve deemed my signature fall nail color — Essie’s Angora Cardi. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted, and I absolutely adore it!
I feel like the worst list-lover in the world because I hadn’t heard of Google Keep. Someone in my writing group told me about it this week, and I immediately downloaded it. So far, it sounds like a simpler version of Evernote, which is a little too much for me, yet with more functionality than the generic iPhone Notes app that currently hoards all of my mind’s various info dumps. I’ll report my progress when I’ve had the chance to explore it more, but I feel like it’s going to be a game-changer for those 2am bursts of inspiration.
I made this mixed berry crumble from Taste’s Lovely for community group this week, and it was tres delish! Benefits: 1) uses frozen berries, so no need to defrost and 2) likely doesn’t require a trip to the grocery store and 3) delicious!
What if brave is really dancing the two-step with doubt? “You’re Braver Than You Know” by Holley Gerth for (in)courage was one of my favorite reads this week!
There was a Friday Night Lights reunion and the president of Team Riggins was not invited. It’s fine. Totally freaked out anyway. I still have clear eyes, full heart, and can’t lose 🙂
Even if boots and sweaters and hot cocoa may not be in your forecast this weekend if you live anywhere near me, I hope you capture some coziness this weekend!
What have you been up to this week? Have you discovered anything brilliant lately?
Happy weekend, you guys! It’s been a minute since I did one of these, so I have lots of goodies to share. I’m in a fantastic mood because I had a wonderful date with my son yesterday, fall is coming, and my book due out in May officially has a title. Yay! It feels like a real book! I love it and can’t wait to share it soon. Here’s what else has been going on around here:
The 2016 ACFW was a whirlwind! I’m still processing it but plan to post a recap of what I learned soon. The most important thing you need to know: I got to spend time with my sisters, including celebrating Jaime’s 40th birthday with literally the best meal of our lives. I loved seeing them and getting the chance to pitch my books, connect and reconnect with my writerly people, and learn lots!
Two things happened this past Saturday. First, we were awakened by a pretty sizeable earthquake here in Oklahoma, which was memorialized by the National Weather Service accordingly. Oh, Mylanta…
Here are my kids comforting each other right after it happened. It was the strongest and longest one I’ve ever felt!
Second, college football made a dramatic return! The most wonderful time of the year! My team celebrated by going into double overtime, winning on this play. I literally have. no. chill. about college football!
I am, on the other hand, trying to add a little chill to my morning routine. Prepping the necessary things the night before and getting in the right mindset to start the day before the kids wake up is a huge game-changer! In an ideal world, I could get work and some exercise in without having to scramble to school on time, but baby steps!
My planning woes seem to be solved. I have found a bullet journaling system that I absolutely adore. It helps me track cleaning, selah, and workouts in a way that works and is much less…disheartening for an unpredictable schedule than other layouts. Thanks to my new bullet journal crush, The Bullet Journal Addict! I have been geeking out over her gorgeous layouts!
Here’s a Tulsa People article highlighting the fantastic work of Launch Outreach and strong women emerging from the Manna House in Tulsa. So, so honored to know them and witness this work personally!
Check out The Prodigal Sisters Podcast, launched this week by one of my favorite women, Brett W. Tubbs and her friend. I loved the first episode and can’t wait for more!
<< in case you missed it >>
On The Writer’s Alley this week: “If you’ve been trusted with a story that makes your bones ache and keeps you awake at night…yet it doesn’t seem feasible, logical, saleable on paper — write it anyway.”
On my run yesterday, I was listening to Annie F. Downs’ podcast, That Sounds Fun, with her guest Bianca Juarez Olthoff. These two brilliant and exuberant authors and speakers brought up a point in their attempt to retire certain Christianese phrases–phrases like quiet time, which I’ve always taken to mean this still, reverent place to read the Bible, pray, and meet with Jesus.
While quiet and stillness are wonderful things, that episode was an excellent reminder for people who aren’t naturally quiet or prone to longer bouts of undivided attention. Annie and Bianca (I can call them by first name because they’re my pretend-BFFs now) renamed the practice Jesus Party, and this loud singer couldn’t agree more!
It’s necessary for every soul to find time for quietness and stillness, but I believe the Holy Spirit is with us in every moment and can speak to us just as powerfully while belting a Bethel Worship album in our cars or processing in a journal or watching a beautiful sunset over the river or via constant dialogue and acknowledgement throughout the day for those of us who tend to sleep through our alarms.
I’m under the weather and sent my family to church without me this morning. This is what my not-so-quiet Jesus Party looks like right now:
My Star Wars jammies, get-better tea, and I couldn’t be more full. Selah.
Y’all, sometimes editing is an easy thing, basically shooting rainbow ideas through your fingers to create this perfect masterpiece.
You get a late start and all you really want is a couch fort and Harry Potter marathon, but you need to get some work done, so this is how it goes:
Step 1: Sit down at desk, turn on Harry Potter soundtrack music, and immediately stand up. No. This isn’t going to work at all.
Step 2: Turn off social media and maximize word processor. Type a few things you immediately delete. Okaaaay?
Step 3: Light a candle and make some tea. This feels better, but something’s still off.
Step 4: Change pants and dig old editing playlist from the depths of your computer.
Step 5: Move laptop to an alternate location. There. All is right in the world.
Step 6: Edit approximately 5 pages before you wake up realizing you’ve added 20 pages of “rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….” to your document.
Editing your own work is a little like trying to reassemble a shredded USA map and fit all the edges together when you’ve known all your life that Texas goes under Oklahoma. But then a brilliant, lovely editor (Hi, Victoria!) shows you it may also fit off of Alaska and make America prettier, more symmetrical.
So you see your work in a new way you love, but you basically also have to keep Oklahoma from falling into the earth’s core.
With the hope and knowledge that, piece by piece, there will be an ending and it will be magnificent, my job is to show up and give my best, whether it’s five pages or 50 that day.
And, as nerdy as it sounds, I love going to work. On the whole, it’s really, really fun 🙂