Tuesday, January 30, 2018

On writing a book


My 8th grade history teacher, Mrs. Pevey, was the first one to predict that I'd write a book someday.

Since it's been more than 40 years since I was in 8th grade, I'm not sure that I quite lived up to Mrs. Pevey's expectations. She might have been thinking that I'd write a book when I was 30 years old, perhaps.

But I didn't know much at 30 years of age, so maybe 40 would have been more like it.

Nope, 40 came and went and still no book.

By age 50 I'd written a small book, but I'm not sure that would qualify as fulfillment of Mrs. Pevey's prediction.

But now, here I am, 54 years old, finally living into the potential that Mrs. Pevey saw in me.

Well, at least I'm under contract to live into that potential. (In case you missed my announcement, I'm currently writing a book for InterVarsity Press. The book is called Mythical Me: Escaping the Trap of Comparison. You can read more about it here.)

I have no idea if Mrs. Pevey is still alive to be proud her former student, but I sure am excited to be writing this book. . . although I will admit that this is one of the hardest things I've ever done. A writing friend of mine posted this on Facebook last week:

The human brain is amazing. 
It functions 24/7 from the day you're born 
and only stops when you sit down to do some writing.

Ain't it the truth?

As I write, I'm reminded of the pledge I made when I started this blog. I pledged to live according to the words found in Ephesians 4:29: "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is useful for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearer" (NKJV).

Yes, I'm excited to be writing a book. I like to write. I'm grateful to be given the chance to write for a larger audience. 

But if my words don't impart grace, they don't need to be written. 
If my words don't express the amazing love of God, they don't need to be written.
If my words don't, at least in some small way, point people to the wonder and glory of God, 
 they don't need to be written.

The world is full of books. Perhaps the last thing we need is another book. But if my book can point people to the love of God, the work of writing it will have been worthwhile.

As often happens, an old hymn expresses my thoughts very well:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Oh love of God! How rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.

                           - Frederich Lehman


Would you be willing to pray for me as I write this book? I want to write it. I've signed a contract to write it, so I must write it. But I want to be faithful in the writing, and I know I need God's help for that. 



Thursday, January 25, 2018

Grace at Home No. 283


Welcome! I'm so glad you're here for the Grace at Home party, where we celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.

Here are some highlights from last week's party

Paula from Sweet Pea lives in a 1950's home without a lot of closet space, so she built this under-bed storage drawer, and she shares a detailed tutorial of how to build your own.


I'm not a naturally organized person, but with a book to write this year,  I need to get myself organized! I was happy to see this post about how to use a daily planner efficiently from Shannon at AKA Design.

In addition to needing to get more organized, I've noticed several places in my home that need some extra cleaning attention now that the holidays are over. I'm going to try this homemade upholstery cleaner from Chrystal at Happy Mothering.


You may know sweet Debbie from Debbie-Dabble from the way she lavishly decorates her townhouse for every holiday. Apparently a lot of us have asked where she stores all her decor, so she's answering that question!


I've been craving hot soup the past couple of weeks, so I was glad to see this recipe for gumbo from Jaxx at The Bearded Hiker. 


Now that the new year is well underway, we're all having to face the fact that life is full of challenges, even if we have started a new calendar. I was especially grateful to read these words of wisdom from Karen at Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.



A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about

  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Thursday, January 18, 2018

Grace at Home No. 282


Welcome to snowy North Carolina! I missed hosting the Grace at Home party yesterday because the wintry weather caused a power outage here. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen this photo:


And it kept on snowing long after I took this picture! Can you believe it? 

So this is late, but I'm glad you're here! Now for some highlights from last week's party.

Kimberly from LouLou Girls shared a recipe for Sheet Pan Honey Garlic Chicken. I'm looking for some new easy main dish recipes, and this one looks like a winner.


Like many of you, I've loved watching Season 2 of The Crown. I'm such an Anglophile! So I loved seeing this real piece of royal mail shared by Kiki from KikiNakita. (Bonus: Kiki shares the Queen's mailing address!)


And speaking of royalty, "Living Like Royalty" from Kelly at KellyLogos really piqued my interest. You'll want to check it out—it'll make you think, I promise!


A big thank you to everyone who joined last week's party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Sunday, January 14, 2018

Inspiration for your week: advice from Helen Keller


We're midway through January, and no doubt you've seen all kinds of advice for making resolutions.

You've probably also seen the statistics on how many people make resolutions but don't keep them.

Honestly, there's so much talk about goals and dreams and reaching-for-the-stars that you might be feeling overwhelmed by this time.


I recently read this piece of advice from Helen Keller, one of my heroines. I thought it was just right for the feelings of overwhelm that can plague us this time of year:

"Your success and happiness lie in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties."

Isn't that amazing, coming from Helen Keller? If anyone knew about overcoming difficulties, certainly she did.

I have lots of goals and dreams for the new year, but I'm going to try resolving to keep happy and trust that a good attitude will go a long way toward helping me overcome difficulties.

How about you? Would like to join me in resolving to "keep happy"?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Grace at Home No. 281


Hello, friends, and welcome to this week's Grace at Home party! I'm so glad you're here.

Here are some links from last week's party that caught my eye.

Penny from Penny's Vintage Home has a passion for decorating; her style is a mix of Romantic, Farmhouse, and Shabby Chic styles. She showed us how she transitioned her decorations from Christmas to winter, and she made me want to add a few fresh touches in my home, too.


Marty at A Stroll Thru Life also really inspired me. She shared some very specific ways she's getting real with some budget cuts this new year.



Andrea from Living on Cloud Nine shared a recipe for slow cooker beef stew. Using my slow cooker more is one of my homemaking goals for this year, so I'm glad to have this recipe.


Donna from Soul Survival gave us lots of good reasons for reading through the Bible in 2018. And a bonus: Donna offers a program to help you read through the Bible, which she promises can be done in less time than you might think!


Now, if all the talk about new year's resolutions has you feeling paralyzed, you're going to love this post from Leslie at The Gwen Moss Blog. She shares a piece of advice that you'll find really helpful, I know.

A big thank you to everyone who joined our last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!





Sunday, January 7, 2018

Inspiration for your week


The corks have been popped, the confetti has been tossed, and a new year is underway!


New Year's is prized by many as a time of new beginnings, a time to make resolutions and set goals to get going on our best year ever.

New Year's is dreaded by others as a time to consider all the ways life hasn't met our expectations, how we haven't kept our resolutions or reached our goals.

But so often New Year's is a time when we focus on the big things we want to do, the "important" things we want to achieve, the monumental steps we want to take. So New Year's can become a time of losing our perspective.

Pope Francis offers some wisdom to counter our New Year's big-big-BIG tendencies. Perhaps you need his words as much as I did.

Like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures. These little gestures are those we learn at home, in the family; they get lost amid all the other things we do, yet they do make each day different. They are the quiet things done by mothers and grandmothers, by fathers and grandfathers, by children, by brothers and sisters. They are little signs of tenderness, affection, and compassion. Like the warm supper we look forward to at night, the early lunch awaiting someone who gets up early to go to work. Homely gestures. Like a blessing before we go to bed, or a hug after we return from a hard day's work.

Love is shown by little things, by attention to small daily signs which make us feel at home. Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love. That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to grow in faith.


-Pope Francis

"Faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love." Amen to that!
May God help us to be faithful in the little things this new year!


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Grace at Home No. 280


Welcome to the first Grace at Home party of 2018!

Grace at Home is a weekly link party for celebrating all the ways we make our homes places of grace and beauty. We've been gathering here for a long time, and I so appreciate the community of support and encouragement that exists here.

Here are some of my favorites from our last party.

I like starting the new year with some new recipes, and this year I especially want some pressure cooker recipes. I have an Instant Pot, but so far I haven't used it. This recipe for Pressure Cooker Pesto Chicken from Jaxx at The Bearded Hiker may be the first one I try!


The weather here has been bitterly cold for many days, and my skin is getting terribly dry. I was glad to see this recipe for hand balm from Tarah at Grandma's House DIY.


I was delighted to see this post called "How to Apologize" from Jennifer Lambert. We all make mistakes, but often we're not quite sure how to make things right. Jennifer offers some really practical advice.

As for me, I shared some really exciting news for 2018. I just signed a contract to write a book for InterVarsity Press! Please take a look at my post, "Here's To An Incomparable New Year" and let me know what you think.  


A big thank you to everyone who joined our last party!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured, feel free to grab the "I was featured" button.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Here's what I ask of you.  Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page.  Please let people know that you've linked up.  No more than three posts per person, please.  Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo.  And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party!







Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Here's to an incomparable new year


It's 2018! Time to ring out the old year and ring in the new.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have already seen my big news for this year. I just signed a contract with InterVarsity Press to write a book!


The working title for my book is Mythical Me: Escaping the Trap of Comparison. You see, comparison has been a lifelong struggle for me. Here are the first words of the book's introduction:

"I've lost count of how many years I've struggled with constantly comparing myself with other people. I'm not certain about this—I'd have to do a thorough comparison to be positive—but I'm pretty sure that I've contended with comparison more than any other woman in North America, perhaps the world.

Maybe I could be the winner of a comparison contest. Maybe this is the one way I could win at the comparison game.

Or maybe not."

I've written some about this here on my blog, and I'm thankful to tell you that God has been working with me on this issue, and I think He's given me something new to say on this problem that has plagued me for so long. I'm excited to get it all written down so that I can share it with you, too.

Meanwhile, the struggle continues. I wanted a quick photo to share on social media; it seemed that it would be more fun to share a picture of myself signing the contract rather than just sharing the news about the contract. But here's what happened when I asked my husband to snap a photo with his phone.

First, my hair hid half my face as he tried to get a picture:


Then he tried the other side, but my hair was still falling all over the place:


So I tucked my hair behind my ear, and looked up at the camera, but all he managed to get was this surprised and somewhat pained look. Not what I was hoping for!


And this doesn't even show the ones with my eyes closed; he deleted those immediately.

You know, I have friends who post gorgeous photos of themselves to social media all the time. Why can't I be more like them? Why do I struggle so much to get one decent shot?? UGH!

Oh, dear. Even when I'm writing a book about comparison, that old comparison issue raises its ugly head.

Can you relate?

With God's help, I'm going to beat this monster. I'm on a journey to stop comparison in its tracks, and I surely would like for you to come along.

I've already written an introduction and three chapters of the book. I have seven more chapters to research and write, and my manuscript is due in August. Will you pray for me as I work on this? It would mean so much to me!

And for now, do you have any stories about comparison you'd like to share? Any resources you've found helpful? Or is this not an issue that's ever troubled you? I'd love to hear!