Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Author: Jean (Page 1 of 52)

Invitation to A Quiet Life

Does anyone have time to read blogs anymore?

Not with any regularity, if we’re being honest.

Which is why, instead of making another attempt to revive this blog, I’m switching to a monthly newsletter format — the type of content you’ve come to expect from Daydream Believer, delivered directly to your inbox once a month. I’m calling it A Quiet Life. Keep reading below for the details.

A Quiet Life(3)

In this culture that prizes ambition and pushes us to hustle non-stop for material rewards, I’m choosing to follow the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Thessalonian church to “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.”

A life of faith and obedience over hustling and striving.

A life fully aligned with my values and beliefs.

A life that moves at a slower pace, making room for what matters most.

If that’s the sort of life you’re after, this newsletter is for you.

Every month, I’ll get a little vulnerable, sharing the things I struggle with, and also sharing what I’ve figured out so far. Part personal blog and part practical advice to help you shape the life you want, my hope is that this newsletter will inspire you to find ways to live a more peaceful and fulfilling life, or at the very least, to slow down and get some rest.

You can read this newsletter on Substack, or you can subscribe to have it delivered to your inbox, all for free. Subscribers will also gain access to community features like discussion threads and Q&As, and if you sign up, I’ll send you a free gift — a set of self-coaching worksheets to help you craft a more values-driven life.

Head here to sign up!

An Expanded Place

This past not quite a year and a half has been tough to get through. It’s been a long season of walking through some hard things, facing painful things from my past, having the blinders removed around certain family narratives and unhealthy dynamics, and letting myself experience the painful emotions that I’ve denied and stuffed down and ignored throughout most of my life.

Throughout this journey I’ve come to realize that I have C-PTSD, and how that has impacted my physical health, as well as my emotional and spiritual health. Together with my husband, I’ve walked through anger, intense hurt, grief, feelings of perplexity and confusion, anxiety, and at least one bout of severe depression. But through it all, I’ve also experienced healing and growth. I’ve learned how to silence the mean voices in my head, ignore the lies and replace them with truth, reject the labels that have been placed on me throughout my life and shed the identities and expectations others have tried to force on me.

Last fall, my husband and I were given an opportunity to move to the Ozarks of Arkansas, a place we’d talked about off an on over the years in a “wouldn’t it be nice to live there some day” kind of way. It seemed like it was being orchestrated by God, and it still appears that way. We’re renting a home on a large acreage in the middle of the woods on top of a small mountain near a lake, miles and miles from civilization. Our house has woods on one side and large expanses of fields and grass on the other three, with a vast view of the sky where we often see eagles circling overhead. Whenever I step outside, I take a deep, cleansing breath and think of all the times King David praised God in the Psalms saying, “You’ve brought me to an expanded place.”

I believe God brought us here to give us the room we needed in order to heal, to rest, to grow into who He meant for us both to be, free from the forces and influences that have always hindered us and held us back and kept us (or at least me – I don’t speak for my husband) in an unhealthy place of striving to be pleasing and acceptable to people instead of to Him.

As I write this, I’m in a much better place. Lately I’ve been feeling calm and settled in a way I can’t remember ever feeling before. I’m crying far less often and laughing and smiling much more easily. I’m having an easier time knowing my own mind and making decisions and speaking up about what I prefer instead of staying quiet and going along to get along. I’ve reached clarity about some decisions I’ve been going back and forth on for years, unsure of what I actually wanted and afraid I wasn’t allowed to want it, finally confronting that fear and naming my desire. And with that clarity has come a deep sense of peace, even as I acknowledge that my decision might not have the outcomes I hope for and could very possibly lead to a lot of pain.

But I feel assured that, even if that turns out to be the case, God will be with us, walking us through it and holding us together, not letting us break but making us both stronger and using it all for our good.

Part of this newfound sense of peace and wholeness – really, all of it, probably – is due to coming to a single, important decision: do I believe in God’s goodness or not? I realized that I haven’t always, but decided that, ultimately, I do. And that if He is truly good, with no darkness in Him at all, then He is completely trustworthy, even when whatever I’m going through is the opposite of good. That He is good, and powerful, and faithful, and no matter what happens I can absolutely trust him to turn it around and purpose it for good. Even when it hurts like hell. Even when my heart is breaking.

The other thing is that I’ve learned –am learning, really, but getting better at it – that I don’t have to hustle and strive to achieve the life that I want for myself and my family. I’m always having to learn this lesson, and I’ve said no to hustle before, but it’s always so easy to get swept up in my goals and trying to accomplish my own plans and lose sight of what I really want, which is a life that’s free of hustling and striving in which I can simply work steadily at my own pace doing work that fulfills me and uses my giftings to accomplish His purpose.

I mean, just last month I was complaining about feeling overwhelmed because I forgot that I’m in a marathon and was running like I’m in a race.

But I was gently reminded that it’s okay to slow down. I don’t need to hustle. The Lord is my provider, and I have everything I need. He’s not going to let me miss out on any good thing He has for me.

And I’m also discovering that the more time and effort I put into seeking Him, the more I’m finding myself and the life He has for me.

I don’t know how long we’re going to be calling this place home. I don’t know what our future holds. And for the first time ever, I’m okay with that uncertainty, because I know and trust the One who holds our future. I’m living out this simple, quiet life one day at a time, seeking my assignment for each day, offering my work to Him, releasing my hopes and plans and leaving the outcomes up to Him as He orders both our steps. I’m more fully present in the here and now than I’ve ever been before, enjoying this season of life while anticipating with joy and hope where He’s going to lead us and for once being at total peace with having no clue where that will be.

But wherever He leads us, I know it will be beautiful.

“You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment.” – Psalm 16:11, VOICE

New Designs Added to Daydream Studios Shop!

I’ve added three new designs to my shop! What’s that? You didn’t remember that I even had a shop? Well, I do, and it has three brand new designs to choose from. Click the images below to go straight to the pictured item, or click here to shop all items, including mugs, tees, stickers, stationery, home decor and more!

Jesus saves. But coffee helps.

Seek Jesus first like Mary, and then go be a boss like Martha. And remember that Jesus loved them both.

For when you need them to shhhhh.

Here’s to Knowing Yourself, and to New Beginnings

I was shocked when I pulled up this blog and realized how long it’s been since I last wrote something here. I never intended to take such a long break. There were many times, early on, when I thought of something I wanted to post about here, but I just didn’t have the energy. And then I realized how much I needed the extra white space that not blogging added to my life, so I decided to leave it be, and that turned out to be a much-needed decision.

This has been a crazy year, to be sure. Here’s a quick recap of the highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be):

  • In January my mom had a stroke. She spent a little over a week in the hospital and then they sent her home sick with a stomach bug, so my husband and I had a pretty intense first week of being her full time caregivers. Thankfully, things got easier for all of us once she got over that bug, and she made such great strides in her recovery that within a month she was able to mostly do for herself.
  • A lot of drama ensued in the aftermath of the stroke which I’m not getting into here for the sake of other people’s privacy. I’ll simply say that it was eye-opening.
  • For a multitude of reasons, my husband and I moved again toward the end of February, into a travel trailer in the middle of the country. God met my desire to try living tiny and to get a do-over at trailer life (following a stint living in an Airstream during my college years that didn’t go so well) in a way that demonstrated both His amazing grace and provision and his sense of humor.
  • It turns out that, while living tiny is quite cozy and has many advantages, it’s sometimes a little too cozy for two introverts and also has a number of disadvantages. After nearly six months of this experiment, we’re both feeling ready for a house-sized home, and we’re currently in the process of looking for one.
  • In the space of that six months I’ve managed to finish editing and eventually launch one novel, revise another, and get yet another a little more than half-way written.

But mostly, I’ve spent the last six months or so healing from a not insignificant amount of emotional trauma inflicted during that first drama-filled month of the year, and working to figure some stuff out. Mostly, I’ve been working to figure myself out. It’s been a journey that has included a lot of praying, a lot of reading–both the Bible and other helpful books–a lot of journaling, a lot of crying–both to God and to my husband (who has been the best friend and partner I could ask for in the midst of all of this, despite working through his own hurts) and silently to myself–and a lot of learning to just sit with my feelings and let them be, neither denying them nor trying to force myself to get over them too quickly.

And along the way I’ve discovered some very important things about myself, including lies I’ve been believing and allowing to shape my life, unhealthy behaviors and areas in my own soul that I needed to work on, and what is actually true about me and about my life.

One of the things I figured out, with help from the book Reading People by Anne Bogel (Disclaimer: that’s an Amazon affiliate link, and I’m required to tell you what you already know, which is that if you use that link to buy something I’ll get a tiny commission and you won’t get charged anything extra), is that as a certified INFP I tend to have boundary issues that sometimes make it hard for me to know where I end and other people begin. This can make me easy to influence and it means I have to be very careful about the influences I allow into my life. But it can also mean that sometimes I unconsciously latch onto other people’s dreams or visions and mistake them for my own, and also unconsciously mimic what other people are doing. Sometimes I catch myself imitating someone else’s mannerisms, or their voice or writing style, and it can be hard to figure out how much of what I produce is them and how much is actually me.

I bring this up because it bears on why I ended up taking such a long break from this blog. That little epiphany led to another one, which is that that’s what was happening with this blog and why I was so unsatisfied and exhausted by it. I had surrounded myself by these awesome lady bloggers and even though I really had no ambitions of my own to be a Capital-B Professional Blogger, I realized that I was mimicking what they were doing and pushing myself after a goal that wasn’t actually mine to go after, and I needed to just stop.

So I did.

And I took a long time, and I prayed a lot about it, and figured out exactly who I am, what I want, whether I actually want to be blogging, what I actually want to get out of it and, more importantly, what I hope to give by doing it.

So here I am, ready to get back in the saddle, armed with a lot more clarity and a much stronger sense of self and of purpose.

Don’t expect a regular or consistent post schedule. That was the deal I made with myself when deciding whether I missed this enough to take it up again: that I would post when I have time, if I feel like it, and if not in either case, I will have zero guilt about it, because this is not my job. I’m here for the joy of it, and because I want to share what I’ve been learning and what God has been doing in my life so that you might be ministered to, and because we were all made for fellowship and sharing and sharpening each other, not for tucking all of our thoughts quietly into the pages of a journal. Not that there’s not a place for that — I have a newfound love of journaling. Journaling has absolutely been giving me life during this season — but the wisdom I’ve gained deserves to be shared.

I’m not the same person I was the last time I posted here.

I look forward to letting you all get to know the new me.

And I hope you’ll stick around for it.

PS – The pics are all from around the farm where we’ve been staying. Isn’t it beautiful here? It helps that I finally upgraded my phone to one with a decent camera. Here’s one more before I go:

What I Learned This Fall – 2017

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I’m late to the party with this. I wanted to get it up by the last day of November, but I was in the middle of trying to finish my novel and everything else got pushed into this week so I could get that done, and now I’m playing catch up. But thankfully it’s not too late to join in and share what we all learned with Emily P. Freeman’s blog community.

It has been quite the educational fall. I’ve learned some big lessons, and had some real light bulb moments, and also learned some things that don’t really matter to anyone but me. This post would be too long if I shared a comprehensive list, so I’ll stick to the highlights, in no particular order.

  • I learned that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person, or HSP, and also that that means something a lot different from what I thought it did.
  • I also finally nailed down my Enneagram number. Turns out I’m a healthy 9, aka a peacemaker, which actually makes total sense in light of my childhood.
  • Turmeric is a super spice. Did you know this? It has so many health benefits that I’m trying to include it in just about every meal now.
  • As much as I’ve always resisted housework and cleaning, I’ve realized that a certain amount of cleaning and doting on my home actually gives me life.
  • Relatedly, I’ve also realized that caring for my home is actually a worthy use of my time and energy, and not just a distraction from worthier things.
  • Sadly, we learned that our dog has heart and lung conditions that will likely drastically shorten his life, barring miraculous intervention. He came close to dying when we found this out, but thankfully he pulled through that only to turn around and come down with an infection that made him seriously ill. But he also pulled through that and now he acts like he’s got a new lease on life. He feels so good that it’s easy to forget he’s basically got a ticking time bomb in his tiny chest. So we’re walking that line between processing our sorrow over his condition and prognosis and trying to enjoy him while we have him and make the most of each day we get to spend with him. Meanwhile, he’s teaching us a lot about living in the moment, taking each day as it comes and not fretting about the future, and not taking anything for granted.
  • I learned that singing is a learned skill and not an inherent talent, and that just about anyone can actually learn to sing well with discipline and practice, just like they can learn to play any other type of instrument. Supposedly. I’m putting that assertion to the test but I’m not anywhere near to posting the results on YouTube anytime soon.
  • I learned that I still need to slow down and be more discerning about the things I allow to fill my plate. I’m still figuring out how to discern what the wrong things are so I can say no to them and leave more room in my life for the right things.
  • I learned that I’m not supposed to be a faith blogger–at least not in this season. You might have noticed that I haven’t updated in a while and that’s why. I realized I was running ahead of God with this blog, and that He never asked me to turn it into a ministry, or to build a second, more “Christian” platform for books He might give me to write someday. After a lot of prayer and soul-searching, I’ve realized that I’ve let this blog–which was initially only supposed to be a personal blog to hold the things I want to share that aren’t really appropriate for my author blog–become a distraction that’s pulling me away from the assignment God actually has for me: writing the books He’s actually given me to write and growing my already-established author platform.
  • Relatedly, I figured out that there’s no need for me to split myself into two author personalities, which is what I’d been doing. Somehow I got it into my head that if I was going to write Christian non-fiction someday — a vague desire based on a feeling that I’m eventually supposed to put my testimony into writing, although I have no idea which part of my testimony or when this should happen or even what that looks like — that I needed a more “Christian” platform than the one that exists for my more secular fiction writing. But God’s been showing me that He can use the platform and writing He’s already given me and that I don’t need to dress it up in culturally Christian clothes in order for it to serve His purpose and be used for His glory, as long as I’m willing to surrender it all to His will. I can actually be my weird, geeky, fantasy-and-horror loving self and God can still use that, and still use ME. Isn’t that great?
  • I also learned that setting something down for a season doesn’t mean I’m setting it down forever. I actually figured this out regarding my infertility struggles, realizing that I needed to stop carrying that burden and lay it down, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up hope or that the time will never come to pick it up again. It’s the same for this blog. For the time being it’s going back to being just a personal blog, but the time may come when I’m supposed to make it a priority again. Then again, it might not. We’ll just have to see where the Lord leads me.
  • Subsequently, I also learned quite a bit about online book marketing and promotion.
  • And I learned that I have to be careful not to let marketing and promotion become an obsession or idol in my life. The trick, for me, is not to look at analytics or worry about numbers, to just do the necessary work and trust God for the results.

So that’s what I learned this fall–or some of it, anyway. What did you learn? Tell me in the comments or, better yet, write your own post and add it to the linkup!


Dance in Faith. Stand on Holy Ground. Run on Mission for God.

I mentioned previously how I took a big (for me) leap this summer by signing up to be on two different launch teams (I reviewed the first of those books, Holly Gerth’s Fierce Hearted, here in case you missed it). The second of those books (actually the first one I signed up for) came out yesterday. I’m so, so glad that I took the risk and said yes to be on these teams, because I’ve been so blessed by each book, albeit in different ways.

Dance Stand Run: The God-Inspired Moves of a Woman on Holy Ground is a book that author and pastor’s wife Jess Connolly (co-author of Wild and Free) felt led to write after trying to convince three different women that they needed to watch the show Pretty Little Liars. In church. On Easter Sunday. And then, as she tells it, she went home feeling disappointed and let down, and as she prayed expressing her confusion as to why their congregation didn’t experience the spiritual awakening and revival that they’d been hoping and praying would happen, she remembered those three conversations, and a thought struck her: “Have we forgotten about holiness?”

This is, at its core, a book on the fundamentals of Christianity. That might strike some as being too elementary, but the hard truth is that we all need a refresher course on the fundamentals of faith. I think we all know church bodies — as well as individual believers — who are so legalistic they’ve forgotten about grace. Just as we also know those who emphasize grace to the exclusion of holiness, righteousness and sanctification–fearing that to even mention the idea that receiving God’s grace should transform us to be more like Jesus is a slippery slope that leads to legalism and bondage.

In Dance Stand Run, Connolly firmly but gently presents a Biblical case that grace and holiness go hand-in-hand, and that to focus too much on one and not enough on the other leads to a faulty Christianity. She makes the case that, while it’s certainly a blessing to rejoice in our deliverance and what we were delivered from, we also need to remember what we were delivered to — to a life of transformation and sanctification made possible by the Holy Spirit. Grace says we don’t have to be holy — but that we get to be holy.

I especially appreciated the chapter that talks about drawing a circle around yourself and your own holiness. I and the Holy Spirit in my are the only ones who get to decide what holiness looks like in my life, just as you and the Holy Spirit in you are the only ones who get to decide what holiness looks like for you. So if I’ve decided that I can’t watch Game of Thrones that doesn’t mean I get to decide other Christians shouldn’t be watching it, either. And if you feel like you shouldn’t read Harry Potter you don’t get to decide other Christians shouldn’t read it.

Connolly doesn’t pull any punches, even delving into that touchy subject of alcohol, and getting a big ol’ YES AND AMEN from me when she points out that we can get drunk on all kinds of things–things that might be innocent on the surface and perfectly fine for someone else can be crutches or stumbling blocks if our motivations and our relationships with these things aren’t what they should be. She invites each of us to examine our own lives and encourages us to focus on identifying the planks in our own eyes and not getting distracted by the specks we see in the eyes of other people.

I also like that each chapter includes a section of Bible study, taking a close look at a relevant passage of scripture, as well as questions to aid self-examination and personal application. I haven’t read it myself, but I know that there’s also a Bible study guide available to go along with the book.

This book confirmed a lot of my own beliefs, which might bias me in its favor, but it also convicted me more times than I’d like to admit. I think this is a timely book that’s needed in today’s Church, full of life-changing truth and encouragement. It could just spur the kind of spiritual awakening and revival that Jess was hoping for on that cringe-worthy Easter morning.

I’m a Fierce Hearted Woman (and So Are You)


I did a rash thing back a couple of months ago, and that thing was applying to not just one but TWO book launch teams for books coming out in October. Signing up to that first one already felt a little wild and crazy for me, but taking on a second one? Whoa Nelly.

Y’all are probably starting to think that I have a pretty low bar for what constitutes “rash” and “wild and crazy” in my life. And you’re right. But I was still so caught up in the habit of overloading my plate that I tended (and still do) to guard my precious time and capacity like a mama bear guards her cubs. I was a chronic “no” sayer. So saying yes to these books, to helping usher them into the world, was kind of a big deal for me.

But they have both been so worth it.

The second yes was actually for the first of the books coming out this month. It comes out today, actually (which was yesterday by the time this gets posted). That book is Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holley Gerth.

Holley writes beautifully, in a way that is accessible and relatable. But the thing I love most is that reading this book felt a lot like sitting at a table across from a wise, funny big sister (which is funny because she’s probably a little younger than me) who doles out love, encouragement and sound advice over coffee. I get the sense that Holley is wired a lot like I am, and she’s had a lot of the same experiences and hardships that I’ve experienced, and it’s shaped her in a way that makes me kind of want to be her when I finish growing up, except that she would tell me–and does in her book–that I should only want to be me, the truest, fiercest version of myself that God created me to be.

I feel like this lady gets me, is what I’m sayin’.

Fiercehearted is a relatively short book. It’s 40 chapters long, plus an introduction and epilogue, but each chapter is only a few pages long. Each one relates an anecdote from the author’s life and lessons the anecdote taught her about life and faith and how those lessons can apply to all of us. If the amount of pink highlighter that got used up in my advance reading copy is any indication, practically every page resonates with encouragement and truth. Sometimes those truths are hard, but she always brings it back around to hope.

This book helped me confront some hard truths about myself and my own life, helped me lay down some things I’d been holding onto too tightly that had become too heavy to bear, and helped me find healing and hope in ways I did not expect. I didn’t know I was signing up for therapy when I signed up for the launch team, but to say that this book has been therapeutic would not be wrong.

All in all, this book has been a real blessing, and saying yes to this opportunity has been one of the best yeses I’ve given all year. Hopefully, you’ll say yes to it too, and be just as blessed by it as I have been.

Did you pre-order this book? Are you planning to read it? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it in the comments! Oh, and PS – that link is an Amazon affiliate link. The book is also available pretty much wherever books are sold, but if you decide to order it from Amazon, doing so through that link will give me a small commission that will help to support this site. Thanks!


A Biblical Case for Simple Living

The Apostle Paul extolled the virtues of living a quiet life, and Jesus Christ himself taught that we shouldn’t chase after material goods, but focus instead on serving others and nurturing our faith. Indeed, during his earthly ministry, Jesus seemed to embrace a lifestyle of minimalism and simplicity, trusting God for his every earthly need.

While the Bible doesn’t command us to live simply, it makes a case that simple living can make us more content.

What is the simple life?

Whether you call it minimalism, essentialism or simple living, the philosophy boils down to the same thing: Eliminating the unnecessary things from your life that distract you and consume your time, money and energy.

Here are some signs that your life has become too hectic, and you might benefit from simpler living:

  • You feel exhausted and burned out
  • You skip church because you need to work, or because that’s your only time to rest
  • Debt prevents you from tithing or giving
  • Spending time with your family is something you have to squeeze into your schedule
  • You can’t find time for your health and your hobbies

Read the rest at Brightpeak Financial blog!

In Which I Figure a Few Things Out

I’m on a never-ending quest to make my life easier, as are we all, I’m sure. Which is why when I have some “A-ha!” moments I feel like I should share them, just in case there’s someone reading this who struggles in the same area(s) I do and who might benefit from my discoveries.

(The rest of y’all probably figured this stuff out a long time ago and are shaking your heads wondering why I’m so slow on the uptake.)

Anyway. These probably could have waited for my next “What I Learned” post but that won’t happen until winter and I want to get these things down while they’re fresh. And mind you, there’s nothing particularly mind-blowing or groundbreaking happening here… but still, it might help someone. So here we go.

1. Smaller, more frequent meals are better for me. Probably.

Writing that recent post on PCOS motivated me to bring myself up to speed on the latest research and re-examine my eating habits in light of the most up-to-date information, and I realized that the way I’ve been eating hasn’t been good at regulating my insulin. I mostly follow the Zone diet, and a properly zoned meal should keep me satiated for five to six hours, but this hasn’t been happening. Instead I’ve been getting hungry after about three hours, and since I can’t stand to be hungry AT ALL, I go ahead and eat a snack, thinking that I need to elevate my blood sugar. I did not realize that probably the reason I’m hungry is because my insulin is too low, which means I’ve not been managing my insulin resistance.

One reason for this is probably that I eat too much bread. I thought I was doing pretty good about eating bread and grains in moderation, but then Aldi stopped carrying their gluten-free bread. Which meant I had to stop buying gluten-free bread, because all the other brands cost more than I’m willing to pay. And not having it made me realize exactly how much I’d been depending on it to make up a meal.

At any rate, I read on a number of nutritionist websites that women with Type 1 PCOS (which includes insulin resistance) sometimes do better eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. So I’m giving that a try. Specifically, I’m eating a meal consisting of two Zone blocks (that means roughly 14 grams of protein, 18 of carbs and 6 to 8 of healthy fat) every three hours, until my last meal of the evening, which is the normal three blocks. I’m just starting this today, so whether this is actually the right thing for me is yet to be determined. But so far I’ve been more satisfied, more energetic and more clear-headed. Also, while planning out a couple of days’ worth of meals (I don’t think I’ll need to meal plan once I get used to eating this way, but right now not knowing what I’ll be eating for all those scheduled meals makes me too anxious not to plan ahead), I realized that this is going to make it a lot easier to avoid bread and grains*, since I won’t need to eat as many carbs at each meal. So this might just solve two problems at once. Win!

*By grains I mainly mean wheat and anything with gluten. I do okay with oats, corn, rice, etc. as long as I have them in moderation.

2. It’s better to focus on one big task per day.

I thought I was doing pretty well with a daily rhythm that allowed a little room to do a little bit each day on several projects. It made me feel like at least each thing on my project plate was getting attention and making a little bit of progress every day. Sounds good, right?

But this week, since I’m still fighting off this cold or whatever it is, I cut myself some slack and only scheduled one big project task per day. This week that means blogging on Monday and Tuesday, pitching articles and freelance work on Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday set aside for working on my novel. And you know, I think this is actually a lot more effective. I’m only a few days in but I’m making major progress and actually finishing things ahead of schedule, leaving me more time for things like researching what I should be doing for my health and loving on my home and family. I think I’m going to keep this up for a while and see how it goes.

One tweak I’m going to make is to try and front load each weak with the projects that energize me and give me life, and save the more draining stuff for the back half of the week. I used to think it was best to get the draining stuff out of the way first, but then I’d be too drained for anything else. So for me this means book writing on Monday, blogging on Tuesday and Wednesday, and article pitching/writing on Thursday and Friday. Which brings me to…

3. I can schedule time for freelance writing and pitching every week.

Y’all, this has been a revelation. I am SO, SO grateful for my freelance writing work, but one of my biggest frustrations is that it’s sporadic and unpredictable, which makes it difficult to plan. Currently I write regularly for three corporate blogs through two different agencies. One of these agencies just posts assignments in batches once or twice a month, and there’s no regularity for when this happens. The other one will have a monthly idea pitching window for each client–again without much regularity–and whether or not you’re assigned work depends on whether any of your ideas are accepted.

Since I’m someone who thrives on steady rhythms and a certain degree of predictability and regularity in my schedule, this unpredictability has been driving me crazy. There are few things that drive me up the wall more than having to drop everything and change my plans at the last minute.

Y’all. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before, but I finally figured out that I can schedule time for pitching and writing articles into every week–AND that I don’t have to wait for a pitch window or writing assignment from my current clients. I can pitch and submit articles to prospective clients, too. This really should be obvious, because this is how most freelance writers make their living, and I’m kind of an idiot.  But now that I’ve remembered this very basic thing about being a freelancer, not only will my schedule be more predictable and sane, but maybe I’ll also make some more of the monies. One can hope.

If you’re wondering how this last thing might apply to your life, since it’s pretty specific to mine, here’s the main point: if there’s an unpredictable thing in your schedule that’s driving you crazy, then schedule time for that thing every week, or every day if that’s what it takes. Maybe when that thing isn’t actually in play, you can spend that time doing something adjacent to that thing to help you be ready when the thing crops up. Or just consider that time free time to use however you want when you’re not having to actively do the thing. Either way, when it comes time to do the actual thing, then it won’t be a big deal because you won’t have to drop everything and adjust your plans around it. There will already be room for it in your week.

So I hope that helps.

Is there anything you’ve recently figured out that’s made life a little easier or more sane? In the spirit of sharing and helping, tell us about it in the comments!

Link Roundup: Fall Minimalism Edition

Happy fall, y’all!

This week has been a week. Not a terrible week, but not a great one, either. It started out great with a super-productive Monday, but on Monday night our refrigerator started making unhealthy noises and, sure enough, by Tuesday morning everything had begun to melt and thaw. So that was tons of fun to deal with. I also had a lot of freelance writing that I needed to clear off my plate, and I’ve been feeling pretty run down all week, to boot. I kept telling myself that it was just allergies and that I just needed to press on, but today I’m throwing in the towel and admitting that I’m actually sick.

It’s not all as bad as it sounds, though. For one thing, seeing as how we’re renters now, this refrigerator thing is just a minor annoyance rather than the full-blown crisis it would have been when we were homeowners. And we still have our old fridge in storage downstairs, which we were already using for overflow (our apartment fridge was pretty small), so we just had to tote all our food down there. The replacement fridge won’t arrive for another two weeks, and having to run up and down the stairs all the time to get our food is less than convenient, but I’m just thankful that that’s the biggest thing we’ve got to worry about in this situation.

At any rate, I had a thoughtful post all planned out for this week, but here are some links relating to minimalism and simple living instead, because keeping it simple is all I’ve got the energy for.

The Minimalists are giving away two of their books, including Everything That Remainswhich has been on my wish list since I watched their documentary earlier this year. Click here and scroll down a bit for details on how to download free PDF versions of the books. It’s easy and doesn’t even require signing up for anything. (PS – that Amazon link is an affiliate link. If you decide to buy a Kindle version or a hard copy of that book, if you get it through that link, I’ll get a small commission that will go toward supporting this site, and you’ll get my gratitude as well as a great book.)

A new phase of Project 333 begins in October, and I’m hopping on the train–or trying to board, at any rate. If you don’t know what that is, the short version is that it’s a capsule wardrobe challenge in which you try to live with just 33 pieces (including shoes, jewelry and accessories; workout clothes, lounging-around-the-house clothes, sleepwear and underwear don’t count) for three months. I spent this morning cleaning out my closet and figuring out my fall capsule wardrobe and managed to get it down to 42 items, but I’ve still got a week left to decide what else to eliminate.

This is a good post by Joshua Becker examining whether a good criteria for deciding what to keep or discard from your life is whether or not it “sparks joy.” I have thoughts and opinions about his thoughts and opinions regarding the Konmari method, and that was originally going to comprise this week’s post. But I couldn’t muster the energy to write about it coherently, which is why now you’re getting links. But his post is worth a read.

Finally, you probably already know about Emily P. Freeman’s new podcast, The Next Right Thing, but I thought I should mention it just in case you missed it. This short podcast — each episode is only about 15 to 20 minutes long — is meant to help “create a little space for your soul to breathe so you can discern your next right thing in love,” and it’s so, so encouraging and inspiring. If you struggle with overwhelm and decision paralysis, this, my friend, is the podcast for you.

Do you have any relevant links or recommendations you’d like to share? Be sure to leave them in the comments! And let me know if you want to tackle Project 333 with me, too. Meanwhile, I’m going to spend the weekend with my feet up, reading and watching Netflix in between naps and drinking copious amounts of Throat Coat tea.



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