hope*writers + my book

Friends, I am writing a book & it is WILD! These two squares go hand-in-hand because I can confidently say that without the community of hope*writers I would not be releasing my debut book for you in January 2020! I am publishing with Revell, a division of Baker books & we are still working on finalizing the title + cover, but it is all happening!

I wanted to officially share this news with you in this space because each of you are the reason why I am writing this book. I have been so inspired through conversations, comments, and messages from many of you over the years and it is a gift to write in this long form way so I can hand over what the Lord has been showing me & the Hope we have. Between now and Christmas you will find me sitting, staring, & writing right here.

Click here to learn more about hope*writers & how it has helped me grow as a writer!

Tonight hope*writers is offering a FREE mastermind class led by Emily P Freeman 8pm.

If you would like to join us & hear more about how you can grow as a writer click here

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Maybe you are not quite sure if this is something you “qualify” for… but let me just say if there is one thing I have learned from hope*writers it is that there is room at the table! I didn’t start calling myself a writer until a few years ago, a year after being a part of H*W. Sure I started my blog a decade ago, but I slowed down writing on it when my kids were tiny and I even stopped journaling for a season. I literally didn’t have the bandwidth or free hands to pick up a pen for a while there! Maybe you can relate? But I am a writer + have been writing all along, in my mind.

We all have a story to tell + only you can tell yours, in your way. The world is waiting to hear it! 

If you want to find out where you might fall into the writing stages, just click here.

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You can also click here to get these FREE 20 Writer Questions answered, it is like gold. I wish I would have had this in my hands a few years ago. Many of my favorite authors are sharing their wisdom & pointing writers in the right direction to share their Hope uniquely!

Lastly, the doors are reopening to register to become a member of hope*writers this week! You will have an opportunity to learn more about the details & get a taste of the community from Emily tonight during the class, but I highly recommend hope*writers.

Many say it is the kindest corner of the internet. I would agree.

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So, if any of this is stirring something in your heart in regards to writing, I hope you will try it out tonight & see what you think. If you decide to sign up to join this family, please use this link & it will help me continue to be a part of it all & continue to spread hope, in my way.

Over the next year I would greatly appreciate your prayers as this book is birthed! 

On Grief + Grace (& the in between)

Every year in our small, bustling town we walk down to the tiny white chapel of our local Methodist church. It’s the day after Easter, when our grief has been replaced with grace. The heaviness of Good Friday and the day in between has ceased and our Rescuer has risen. We gaze into the windows, casting our eyes onto the colorful butterflies hanging on the twigs placed in plain view. The ache of yesterday and the unknown has been redeemed and we can latch onto the concept that our soul’s are transformed by His death and sacrifice on the cross. But what about the day in between? The day we wait?

Sometimes grief can feel like the day in between.

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We can find ourselves gazing up at the sky, or in a doctor’s office, or at coffee with a friend asking: why? Why me? Why again? Does God really see me and the longings of my heart? Why would He allow this to happen? Grief has a way of wrecking us deep within. It also has a way of bringing us to our knees and allowing others to love and help us. It has been such a gift to me when friends have allowed me to share my heart in my hurt. I also count it a high honor to get the chance daily to enter the stories of those aching. I have had friends experience still birth, multiple miscarriages, and painful diseases. With each phone call or email I receive I have wanted to hand them a book, in love, that will serve as a guide through grief, not a handbook on how-to “fix” it. I have wanted an author to be brave and dig beneath the surface of their own stuff to offer hope to others.

Over the years my family and friends have experienced a weighty load of loss and grief. In my counseling practice many women who are suffering silently in their own lives are sharing their broken hearts with me. I have heard all the one liners that people say in an attempt to soothe these souls, but unfortunately the more talking it seems people do, the less it helps. The last thing someone grieving wants to hear from us can be found here in an article from my Aussie friend Adriel Booker. Adriel has miscarried three of her own & she provides honest and relatable resources for women walking a similar road. Not only does she share her story in a raw and refreshing way, but she also broadens her perspective for people like you and me who have battled grief in other ways or simply want to know how to best love the woman hurting in front of us. I am so grateful that Grace Like Scarlett is releasing just in time for Mother’s Day on May 1, 2018!

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As a counselor I appreciate deeply how Adriel says in her book, “no matter how wonderful our surroundings, no matter how perfect if all seems, we will never know and experience the fullness of heaven on earth until Jesus himself makes all things new. All that we see and taste and touch, though being redeemed, is still flawed—deeply and desperately.” This reminder of truth gives us all permission to feel whatever range of emotion we are experiencing in regards to the loss that comes our way. Everyone’s back story is different and we cannot pretend to know what others are battling. Yes, we enter in, but offering pat answers or tie-it-up-with-a-bow statements can actually be harmful.

Adriel allows the brokenhearted to feel, doubt, and cry out to a big God who carries us. 

 

 

My prayer for every woman, or man, who reads this book is that they will learn the gift of being present with a person in their pain. Maybe you are the one who needs to read this book because you have personally experienced a loss through pregnancy. The stats are staggering and reveal that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss which means that many of you have or know someone who has dealt with this specific grief. Adriel offers resources for husbands and loved ones, postpartum relief, and new seasons of pregnancy that follow. This book also widens the scope from just pregnancy loss and points us to grace in the midst of any grief we may bear. Anyone who reads it will find hope in the dark.

If you preorder this Grace Like Scarlett before May 1, you can also receive these goodies:

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So, if you have a friend who needs some support or you need some yourself, here it is!

Looking back to Look Ahead

A couple weeks ago I was sitting at lunch after church with my family. I looked around at each of their faces and it hit me: my babies are gone. As of this spring our youngest will be graduating from preschool and come Fall we will have three kids in elementary school. My eyes filled with tears as I was flooded with every emotion imaginable. How? How did this happen so fast? Where did the time go? They say the days are long, but the years are short, and it all just caught up with me. So, I started thinking about all the memories and realized I had a place to go back to, to recount all the goodness along the way. I am so grateful for instagram for this very reason because I love to document life.

In 2011 I got my first iphone and started my first instagram account. I wrote in my profile that I was: counting the graces in square spaces and so sparked my online scrapbook. Friends, what an emotional rollercoaster the past few weeks have been! As I have looked back and begun to look ahead, my heart has been stirred up remembering all the pain and beauty interwoven in our lives over the past seven years. I have seen God’s hand and how He has gone before us time and time again. In the moments when I felt overlooked, I also felt Him near. When grief and loss came our way & took root for a season, I saw the Lord pursuing us nonstop in very specific and unique ways that spoke to right to our heart. At times it even made me laugh out loud at the intention of His love for me and a raw and real joy would break through instantly. The past almost decade has been full of the heavy and unexpected, but the light has cracked through continuously. Once we shift our lens to hunting for the beauty in the mess, life can start to feel lighter and we can trust that the One who made us actually knows best and that we don’t.

If you haven’t tuned in to my current instagram series I am wrapping it up this weekend & a BIG writing announcement will be following it early next week! You can find me on IG over at: mm // milk + honey counseling series I hope and pray you will find these posts encouraging in your story, right where you are. The reality is we all have a personal story that reveals that path we have walked so far in this life. I have found that looking back to trace the hand of our Creator and see His goodness along the way helps us look ahead at what is to come with great expectation and trust for all the glory on the way.

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reading people

I stopped in my tracks when I saw the title of Anne Bogel’s book: Reading People. Why didn’t I think of that? It’s brilliant! At first glance I thought she was going to solely talk about people who read, but when I read the subtitle the actual meaning was revealed… how seeing the world through personality changes everything. Oh my word, yes! It is about “reading people” and seeing what type of reader they are based on personality!

Being a counselor & having studied personality for many years in my practice milk + honey counseling  I have come to appreciate that differences that color our world. We each bring so many different aspects to the table and life would be so utterly boring if we were all the same. We have a creative Maker who made us the way we are for a reason! Anne does a beautiful job of pointing us to this truth throughout her book. She integrates MBTI (Myers Briggs), INFJ here! The Enneagram, Type 4 here! Strengths Finder, etc.

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I have followed along with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and podcast for a while now since Anne talks about all things books and reading.  Growing up I worked at our local independent bookstore and loved pairing people with books, new & old, based on their personality and interest. If you are local, you can get that chance with Anne here in Davidson, North Carolina on Oct. 22 5-7pm. Anne will match you with a personalized read over at Main Street Books including delicious delights from my friend Jen at the Pickled Peach. Come join me & some friends to meet Anne + discover your reading personality! You can also take her quiz online on the Reading People dot com website.

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Serving on Anne’s launch team for her book release today has been such a gift! Happy book birthday Anne, we are so glad you were made just as you are, & thanks for reminding us to embrace our differences so that we might live, love, work, & pray more fully! Delving into the difference personality tests over the years has transformed not only my relationships, but those of many of my counseling clients & I cannot wait to hand this book over to them, since it is easy to navigate and absorb with all it’s wisdom.

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Manna for Monday: Doughnuts + Dancing

It was a full weekend & Monday came too soon! There was some heavy in my heart + but my feet felt light. We celebrated with dear high school friends going to prom, college friends expecting twins, & an end of the year bash full of doughnuts + dancing!

Sometimes even when sickness, financial struggles, or any unexpectedness hits… we can still feel JOY in the midst of it all. What a gift it was to walk around our town on Saturday and soak in the goodness of the green leaves, music, and food wafting through the air. Even though a friend was battling some hard news, we were able to simply be in it together. It is as if God knows just what we need and points us to the simple things of life to ease the pain. Our pastor spoke about his daughter’s upcoming heart surgery on Sunday and how even Joseph in Genesis was bound by brokenness but thrived because of God’s nearness. We can face anything, the waves will not overtake us, we can rest in Him.

I pray this manna for your Monday provides even an ounce of goodness for your soul today! 

Sometimes we can delight in the sweetness of the moment, even when everything seems out of reach.

Need some Manna for your Monday?

1- Just go check out these weimy puppies, I may or may not be in the market

2- Mama friends, this collection of interviews is for you via GraceLaced Motherhood series

3- Ann V on how right Jimmy Kimmel was to speak out about funding for tiny heart(s)

4- “Rest in You” by All Sons + Daughters based on Saint Augustine’s quote:

Our hearts are restless until we find rest in You

this is where my Hope lies
this is where my soul sighs
& i will always find my rest in You
you cannot change
yet you change everything

Manna for Monday: May Mantras

Those April showers have brought all the May flowers + here we are beginning the most bustling month of the calendar year! Graduations. Weddings. End of year everythings.

Need some mantras for your May?

Craving some fresh air & peace to wash over you?

I know I do. I want to soak in every second of all the goodness without my whiplash.


This past weekend my family went up to Family Camp at Young Life’s camp Windy Gap in Asheville. I feel like it was the calm before the storm of a series of very full weekends coming up with multiple events happening until June! Many times I find myself at the end of the month of May wondering where the time went and wishing I could take a slow meander back through all the celebrations that passed me by. This year I want to intentionally attempt to be fully present at each event. I want to breathe in deeply the beauty of the people we are celebrating and the culmination of another school year.

May brings all the emotions. We watch high schoolers commit to colleges, college students take jobs. Young couples get married. We celebrate motherhood. We say goodbye to teachers who have invested deeply in our little ones. We end chapters. We begin new seasons.

So much transformation happens in the span of just 9 months. Babies can grow. Toddlers learn to walk and speak. Children becomes readers and writers. Teenagers drive. Couples unite. May is the fruit of labor.

photo by Michelle Shott at Windy Gap

May we slowly soak in all the upcoming celebrations that tend to leave our heads spinning + exhausted and savor the fleeting nature of this full, yet rich season this spring.

Manna for Monday: When it Rains Hard

It has been raining hard for the past few days in our town. Usually when it rains a lot the clouds will part and some light will crack through, but we are going on 48+ hours straight of nonstop heavy downpours. The trees and flowers are soaking up every ounce of water + are flourishing in the steady stream from heaven. I am sitting here listening to the rhythm on our roof as our kids run wild inside taking deep breaths as I look at the week ahead.

Here is some Manna for your Monday (& the week ahead):

An explanation of the spiritual & physical aspects of Depression: Gloom to Gratefulness

Drawing to Music with kids + exploring art & the soul by Jean via the Artful Parent

Bethel Music playlists echo in my head most days, the latest from the Johnsons:

 

Have a wonderful week, praying it is full of all the things you love + people you adore.

 

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