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

Category: Stuff and Things (Page 1 of 3)

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.

What I Learned This Fall – 2017

Adobe Spark(2).jpg

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!


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.



PCOS 101

September is PCOS Awareness Month. You might not have been aware of that, which is exactly why such a month is needed. PCOS — Polycystic Ovary Syndrome — is a disease that’s known to affect roughly five million women in the U.S. alone–nearly 10% of the population, including yours truly. But not a lot was understood about this disease until fairly recently, and unfortunately the diagnostic criteria relied on by most medical professionals is seriously outdated, which means that countless more women who suffer from PCOS aren’t being properly diagnosed.

It might astonish you to learn that a disease affecting so many women is so underdiagnosed, but it’s really not surprising. Despite the fact that I presented with classic symptoms from the time I started puberty, it took two miscarriages in my mid-thirties before a doctor finally suggested that I might have it, and then it took another year for me to be officially diagnosed. And then each time I spoke to a different doctor they each told me something different. One believed it could have played a part in my miscarriages. Another said that PCOS absolutely does not cause miscarriages and that the only way to treat it was with the birth control pill. Yet another said that it causes infertility and that I needed to watch my weight and keep my blood sugar down. She, at least, was right (Doctor #2, by the way, was completely wrong), but that was only part of the story. Honestly, apart from the infertility and what it does to your health, the most frustrating thing about having PCOS is simply finding a doctor who is actually knowledgeable about it.

The good news is that a lot of strides have been made in PCOS research in recent years, and today a lot more is known about it than back when I was first diagnosed. Where it was once thought to be a reproductive disorder, we now know that it’s actually an endocrine disorder affecting almost every system in the body, not just the reproductive system. PCOS also affects the digestive system, the immune system and, of course, the endocrine system, among others. When it comes to the havoc it can wreak on overall health, PCOS can politely be called a cluster mess. Here is just a partial list of the things that PCOS either causes or places you at a higher risk for:

• Infertility and pregnancy loss
• Gestational diabetes and preterm delivery
• Irregular and painful periods
• Elevated insulin and insulin resistance
• Diabetes and metabolic syndrome (aka pre-diabetes)
• Thyroid disease
• Autoimmune diseases
• Chronic inflammation
• Inflammatory illnesses, including chronic pain disorders
• Heart disease
• Losing hair in places where you want it and growing it in places where you don’t
• IBS and leaky gut
• Gluten intolerance
• Acne
• Anxiety and depression
• Sleep apnea
• Fatigue
• Brain fog
• Difficulty losing weight

Often, women will seek treatment for one or more of the above issues, having no idea that PCOS is the underlying cause, and leaving with their health professional making them none the wiser. This is sad and frustrating because PCOS is a manageable condition, and proper management is the key to treating all of the symptoms and resulting conditions. I’ll get to more of that in a minute, but first let’s talk about what PCOS is, exactly.

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome, at its core, is a hormonal imbalance in which the body produces too many male hormones and not enough female hormones. Additionally, the liver doesn’t clean the excess male hormones out of the body like it should. This imbalance wreaks havoc on the female body. The disease gets its name from one symptom in which the ovaries produce small cysts in place of eggs, but in spite of that, this particular symptom is not always present. As I said earlier, research into understanding this disease is only just getting off the ground, but here, so far, is what is actually known about PCOS:

• It’s linked to both high blood sugar and chronic inflammation, but it’s not known whether either of these cause PCOS or whether they result from it.
• Either way, managing blood sugar and inflammation through nutrition and exercise is the best way to treat PCOS and most of the conditions that stem from it.

How do you know if you have PCOS?

The diagnostic criteria for PCOS is that you have at least two of the following:
• Irregular or absent periods
• A blood test showing excessive male hormones in the blood, or physical signs such as hirsutism (i.e., whisker-like hair grown on the face and neck), hair loss and/or acne
• Polycystic ovaries
However, diagnosing PCOS this way fails to take into account insulin resistance, which is a far more common occurrence in women with PCOS than polycystic ovaries.

If you suspect you might have PCOS, you should bring it up with your doctor, but if possible it’s also a good idea to seek out an endocrinologist who specializes in, or is at least knowledgeable about, treating PCOS. You should also be prepared to do a lot of research, be your own health advocate, and possibly even design your own treatment plan with the help of a knowledgeable nutrition expert.

What to do if you have PCOS

PCOS is not a one-size-fits-all disease. It affects everyone differently, and there is no cure or no one-size-fits-all treatment. While for decades the common wisdom has been to prescribe the pill in order to regulate periods and help control acne, that only treats two out of many symptoms and does absolutely nothing to treat the underlying cause or help the additional health issues linked to PCOS.

The best treatment is a diet that’s designed to control both blood sugar and inflammation, and that incorporates foods known to reduce androgens and improve liver function. There are a number of good low glycemic index, anti-inflammatory diets that can be adapted to effectively treat PCOS, including the Zone diet, Paleo and Whole 30. There are also diets geared specifically toward PCOS, which I’ll link to below.

You should also get used to the idea of avoiding gluten and dairy, both of which contribute to inflammation. There are a number of reasons to give up dairy, or at least cut way back on it. Besides the inflammation factor, cow’s milk also contains natural hormones designed to help growing baby cows, which are not conducive to helping a hormonal imbalance. Women with PCOS are also more susceptible to leaky gut and IBS, neither of which are helped by dairy.

Regular exercise is also an important part of an effective treatment plan. That doesn’t mean you have to become a gym bunny, but regular movement and strength training help to control your body’s insulin response, as well as helping to keep depression at bay.

If you want to know more about the link between nutrition and PCOS and how to manage this disease, check out the following links:


PCOS Diet Support

PCOS Nutrition Center

Also, be sure to check out the PCOS Awareness Association for even more info.

Do you have any experience with this disorder? Have you got any questions I might be able to answer? I’d love to discuss it with you in the comments! ♥


Daydream Studios Shop is Now Open!

One of my goals for this blog is to inspire you to step out and take bold action in pursuit of your dreams. And I believe one of the best ways to do that is to lead by example.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to start a shop selling my own graphics in the form of art prints, posters, tee-shirts, mugs and what have you. Despite several years under my belt as a working graphic designer, I always talked myself out of it, listening to the voices in my head that said my work wasn’t good enough, that nobody would ever want to pay for a shirt or mug or anything else that I designed.

I’m not listening to those voices any more.

Daydream Studios features inspired designs that are designed to inspire. My hope is that they will serve to remind you of who you really are, why you’re really here, and inspire you to make the art you were created to make. There are currently three designs available, with more on the way.

This is a little scary, putting my work out there like this. But I know I have to do it scared, or I’ll never do it at all. I’ll have thoughts about doing it scared, and fear of failure, and not listening to the mean voice in your head and overcoming imposter syndrome, all in future posts. But for now… Daydream Studios is open! Check it out here!

What are you letting the mean voices keep you from doing? Are you willing to do it scared? I’d love to hear about your scary dream in the comments!

{PS – If you like these prints, be sure to sign up to Daydreamer Dispatches, my monthly newsletter. You’ll not only get free printable PDFs of each of these designs, but I’ll be giving away more printables in future issues!}

What I Learned This Summer

It’s time for another post about what I learned this season! Which is good because I’m having an unexpectedly hectic week and otherwise I would’ve skipped posting this week. Which brings me to my first item:

  1. I don’t have to operate on anyone else’s schedule. This is something I finally figured out after allowing myself to sloooow dooown this summer. Of course there are deadlines and obligations and commitments that sometimes require me to work with other people’s schedules, but I don’t have to stick to a self-imposed schedule that I self-imposed out of a sense that I’m just supposed to, or out of a sense that if I don’t people will be unhappy with me. It helped to realize that these are imaginary people I’m trying to please because actual flesh-and-blood people don’t really care that much about these things.
  2. Mosquitoes find me delicious. This isn’t actually a new discovery, but living in the city and spending most of my time indoors I kind of forgot how they’re drawn to me. Since we moved back out to the country and we’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors, I was reminded with a vengeance. Which brings me to…
  3. There are several reasons why mosquitoes find some people more delicious than others.
  4. Community is good (drama and tragedy, not so much). I’ve mentioned before that the neighborhood we moved back to is where I grew up. I’ve also waxed nostalgic on this blog (or possibly my other one) about what a tight-knit community this was when I was a kid, and lamented how that’s been lost. Recently, there’s been an effort to bring back a sense of community, and neighbors have been reaching out and making more of an effort to know each other, all of which is great. But all of this was spurred by a couple of houses moving in that violate the neighborhood covenenants–50 year old covenants that a lot of the newer residents didn’t even know existed–all of which has resulted in a lot of fighting and drama, which is not so great.What’s worse, a couple of weeks ago one of our elderly residents was murdered in her home, and the sheriff’s department has no idea by whom and they have very little to go on. This is the first time ever in the half-century of this neighborhood’s existence that something of this nature has happened here, and it’s unsettling to say the least. One good thing coming out of this tragedy, though, is that everyone’s been laying aside their differences for the sake of reviving a neighborhood watch and developing a program to check up on our elderly neighbors and do our best to keep each other safe. Having just moved from a place where this sort of crime was sadly commonplace and only made people more withdrawn and untrusting of their neighbors, this is a refreshing thing to see.
  5. I’m a renaissance soul. I recently figured this out when I read this book, and it explained so much. Another name for this is scanner personality. I always thought my ADD was the reason I could never be happy just focusing on one thing, and why I’m always trying to cram so many different projects and interests onto my plate. But it turns out that it’s just my personality. Good to know.
  6. God’s will for my life is not that complicated. During my summer slow-down I read a lot of good books, one of which was Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung. It gently (and sometimes not so gently) points out that this idea that there is a single, perfect path that God has laid out for us and it’s our job to discover that path by praying and agonizing over every big (and not so big) decision, seeking signs and refusing to make a move until we get a neon sign from Heaven telling us which way to go is not actually Biblical. I’ll be writing more about how this book helped me get over a lot of fear and actually start making decisions again in a future post, but if you’re stuck because you’re afraid of making a wrong move, this book is for you.
  7. It’s possible to be depressed and grateful at the same time. This is also a future blog post, but it’s worth mentioning in case there’s anyone reading this who, like me until recently, is struggling under the misapprehension that being depressed makes us ungrateful and bad Christians (this is one of those beliefs that I illogically apply to myself but not to other people. How often do we do that? Refuse to give ourselves the grace or cut ourselves the slack that we happily extend to others? Maybe we should all knock that off). But the truth is that we’re complex creations who are capable of feeling multiple things at once, and it’s entirely possible to be glad and grateful about answered prayer in one area while at the same time struggling with feelings of sadness and depression, and this does not make you a bad Christian. 
  8. True crime podcasts really are addictive. I passed on Serial when it was all the rage, and I’ve also skipped all the copycats, instead favoring Serial-style fictional mockumentaries with a fantasy/horror bent. But recently I decided to check out an investigative podcast called Up and Vanished, about the 2005 disappearance of teacher and former beauty queen Tara Grinstead from her small town in Georgia. And I’m totally hooked. I’ve been binging this podcast every chance I get since I first started listening last weekend. You should listen to it, even if you think true crime podcasts aren’t really your thing.

What did you learn this summer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! And if you like lists like this, be sure to head over to Emily P. Freeman’s blog to see what she and her readers have all learned over the summer. ♥

Sometimes the best way to move forward is to step back.

I’m back from my summer blog break and ready for a fresh start… and also kind of feeling like I forgot how to write a blog post. But before I talk about the fresh start, let me talk about the break. What did I do with six whole weeks of no blogging?

Well, mainly I worked on my book, although I didn’t make as much progress as I wanted or needed to (and it’s still going to have to come first until it’s done). And I didn’t take a break from my freelance work. But between those things, without the blog to worry about I had a lot of time for reading and the slow processing of ideas. And let me tell you, I read a lot.

I kind of surprised myself, actually. As much as I love to read, I also really like TV, so I thought I’d spend a lot of my downtime during the break catching up on at least one Netflix series. But other than dipping my toes into The Great British Baking Show while working on a (slow) embroidery project (and also other than the hour a night my husband and I spend watching a show together–right now we’re catching up on Better Call Saul and it is crazy good) I haven’t watched anything. What’s even more surprising is how much of my reading has been non-fiction instead of fiction (although there has been quite a lot of fiction in the mix, too).

At any rate, I was grateful for the time to just process and fill the well, and also to pray and plan. One of the things I prayed a lot and spent a lot of time journaling about was this blog. Because the truth is that I had gotten to a point where I wasn’t sure what the point of it was anymore, or if it should even continue to be something I put my time and energy into. It was feeling more like a chore than a passion, and I knew it was time to stop, if only temporarily.

So I stopped. And I prayed a lot about whether I should stop for good or just take a break. And I prayed about the purpose and mission of this blog, which turned into examining MY purpose and mission on this earth and how that can be expressed through this blog.

Which brings me to the fresh start.

If you’re reading this post at the actual blog, you probably noticed the new layout and a new logo (if you’re reading this somewhere else, you can click here to check them out). The new logo also includes a new tag line: “Standing at the intersection of faith, creativity, simplicity and knowing what matters most.” Those are pretty much the four pillars of my life (the fifth is home and family, but that tag line was already feeling overstuffed and those things are pretty well covered under “what matters most”). And I’ve realized that not only am I all about figuring out how these things intersect and interact together, I’m also all about helping you figure out what that looks like in your own life.

I also want to inspire you, encourage you and build up your faith–not only in God but in believing the truth about who you are and what you’re capable of in Christ. And I want to help you give yourself permission to relax, to lay hold of grace and let go of what doesn’t matter that’s getting in the way of what does, to stop emulating Martha so much and start emulating her sister Mary more.

As to what that’s going to look like… we’ll see. I think this is a “learn as you go” type of thing, and there’s going to be a period of transition as I learn to navigate my mission and settle into my new blog skin. I’m hereby giving myself permission to experiment and try out different things, and I’m giving you permission to tell me how those things sit with you.

But for now, I think it will look like this: Shorter blog posts about lighter topics such as what I’m reading or listening to or using and how I’m fitting these concepts into my life, as well as more practical posts about doing life and adulting and being faithful stewards of what we’re given. And I’ll save the deeper, more theological stuff for the newsletter, which will go out once a month, in order to give me plenty of time to process these bigger ideas and do them justice.

There are also some other fun things coming. Like a shop that will sell graphic inspirational prints and other merchandise like mugs and tee-shirts created to inspire and encourage you. And an online course or two, or at the very least some workbooks aimed at helping you sort some of these things out in your own life. The print shop is coming as soon as I can get the shop set up–hopefully some time in the next week or two. The classes and/or workbooks will have to remain in the idea stage until my book is finished, which will be a while yet.

Here’s a peek at what will be in the shop:

And I’ll be giving away free printables of each of these designs to subscribers of my monthly newsletter, Daydreamer Dispatch. So if you would like to delve deeper with me each month about how faith intersects with creativity and doing life in a way that puts first things first, click here to sign up, and you’ll be given a link to download print quality PDFs of the above graphics. I’m kicking around the idea of sending out a new printable in each issue of the newsletter, but that will depend on whether I have time to create a new graphic each month.

In light of all of that, I can genuinely say I’m happy to be back, and I’m excited about moving forward!

What about you guys? Does my new tag line and its four pillars stir up any issues or questions in your heart that you’d like to see addressed here? Do you have a favorite quote or verse you’d like to see turned into a graphic print and added to the shop? I’d love to hear your ideas, as well as what you’ve been up to this summer! Let’s chat in the comments. ♥

Slowing Down and Other Changes

First of all, Happy July Fourth! Here in the U.S., that means it’s Independence Day, the day we celebrate becoming one nation under God by grilling hot dogs and blowing things up. If that’s you today, may your hot dogs be tasty and your fireworks awesome (and safe). Hooray for freedom!

Image result for america freedom gif

In the spirit of exercising my freedom, I’m going to be slowing things down here for the rest of the summer. I know, I know… I just got back into a posting groove after moving forced a long hiatus this spring. But I have another book due in August and I’m ridiculously behind on it, and so for the next couple of months I’m going to need to simplify my life as much as possible and devote as much of my writing energies as possible to getting the book done.

Also, it’s summer, and the truth is that I’d rather be spending my downtime enjoying the outdoors and my family than sitting here blogging at y’all, as much as I love you. *kissyface*

But that doesn’t mean I’m going away for the summer, because I do love y’all and I can’t stay away completely. This isn’t a hiatus–it’s just me giving myself permission to not worry about sticking to a regular posting schedule and to only post when I have something worth saying or sharing. And I’ll be filling in some of the gaps with some golden oldies from the archives.

In the meantime, if you’re hungry for content and you have a taste for the weird and sometimes creepy, you might check out my author blog. I’ll be slowing things down over there, too, but I’ve added a lot of fun content in the run up to last week’s launch of my newest novel, so that might keep you occupied for a while.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m going to be making another minor change going forward–so minor you might not even notice it if I didn’t point it out. I’m going to start adding affiliate links where appropriate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this into an affiliate marketing blog. Just, whenever I want to recommend a book or a tool or something, as I sometimes do, if there happens to be an affiliate program for it, I’m going to go ahead and sign up for it and use the link. Or at the very least I’ll use the Amazon affiliate link.

And there’s one more thing, y’all. I have a goal, and I just thought I’d go ahead and put it out there so the prayer warriors among you can give me some prayer support. My goal is to get to a place professionally where my time is my own to decide how to use–where I’m not dependent on content agencies and subject to their editorial schedules and whims, but I can set my own schedules for both my writing and my clients’, and be able to keep consistent rhythms that allow me the time and energy to focus on my passion projects–like providing encouragement for soul-weary women and practical tips for doing life in a way that honors God.

I’ve been thinking that getting into ghostwriting books might be one path to that goal (I’ve ghostwritten plenty of blog posts and articles, but never anything book-sized). This is something I’ve been researching and praying about, and asking God to show me the steps I need to take in order to move in that direction, without falling into old habits and running ahead of Him and trying to force it to happen under my own power. So if y’all could maybe send up a quick prayer or two for me along those lines, I’d sure appreciate it. And if you know someone who might be in a position to hire a ghostwriter, maybe mention my name?

In the meantime, I’m going to keep my head down as much as possible and focus on doing the work that’s already before me, like writing the book I’m actually contracted write, hallelujah amen.

What about you, sister-friend? Are you slowing down for the summer, or has this summer got you doing the holy hustle? Do you have any goals or dreams that I can be praying for? Share your thoughts in the comments!


PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at
« Older posts