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

Tag: what I learned

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!


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. ♥

What I Learned This Spring


Thank goodness Emily P. Freeman is ready to do another link roundup for stuff we learned this spring. This is actually a life saver because I need something easy to ease me back into blogging here regularly and list posts are easy and now I have an excuse to do one. This list is mainly going to be about things I learned pertaining to moving because moving pretty much consumed our entire spring. So with that in mind…

  1. Moving is hard. I mean, duh, right? We knew this, but it had been nearly nine years since the last time we actually had to do it, and it’s easy to forget just how hard something is when you haven’t had to do it in a while. But it is HAAAAARD.
  2. Good friends are a blessing. Good friends with a large truck and a flexible schedule and a heart for helping and serving others are an extra-special blessing.
  3. Downsizing your stuff is not something that should be put off until AFTER the move, especially if you’re considerably downsizing your space. We’d planned to do away with a lot more of our stuff before the move happened, but a window of opportunity opened up for us to move sooner than we’d planned, and so we ended up packing and bringing with us more stuff than we have space for. This is making unpacking extra super fun.
  4. There’s always more to do than you think. The actual moving part didn’t take too long, but then we still had a lot of stuff left to deal with at the old place–furniture and stuff we’d decided to donate instead of bringing with us, etc. Not to mention an entire garage filled with my deceased in-laws’ belongings. Getting all of that sorted and dealt with was a much, much bigger job that we’d anticipated. SO much bigger.
  5. Transitions are hard, even when they’re desirable and good. We really, really wanted this move to happen, and when the door opened for it we dove in faster than Michael Phelps at the sound of the starting pistol. Other than the actual time and work involved in moving, I didn’t think it would be that big a disruption to our day-to-day lives. After all, we don’t have kids and we both work from home and simply changing our location shouldn’t have much of an impact on how we do things, right? I could not have been more wrong. One of our biggest struggles has been re-establishing rhythms and routines and adjusting to the fact that we no longer live a convenient distance from anything.
  6. Transitions are hard, even when they’re desirable and good. No, I didn’t accidentally copy and paste that from above. I deliberately added it again to make the point that it’s okay not to be joyful and bursting with gratitude every second of every hour whenever you finally get something you’ve been praying a long time for. It’s okay if sometimes you’re too worn out and exhausted and a little depressed because everything is so much harder than you expected and you’re beyond frustrated at how difficult it is to get back into a flow. Give yourself grace, acknowledge that it’s hard, and then step back and try to remember why you wanted this thing in the first place and why you actually are, in fact, so grateful that it finally came to pass.
  7. Don’t unpack in a hurry. Apart from unboxing the things we absolutely needed in order to set up house and be comfortable, we’ve been taking our time about unpacking, finding a home for things and decorating. We want to see how we actually live and utilize this space in order to determine what makes the most sense in terms of where to put stuff. While it feels a little chaotic still being surrounded by boxes, when we finally do pull something out and put it away we can be reasonably certain it will stay in that spot and we won’t have to endlessly rearrange things.
  8. My soul is so much happier surrounded by nature. We moved back to the place where I grew up, a little housing edition out in the country overlooking a lake. There are woods within walking distance and we only need to cross the street for views like this one:

    The people are much friendlier here, too. Every time I go for a walk in this neighborhood my heart soars with joy to be here.
  9. God is so, so faithful. Last week I reblogged this post that I wrote a little over a year ago. In that post I talked about how trapped and hemmed in I felt where we were living, and how our prospects of getting to move anytime in the foreseeable future were slim to none. But I kept praying even though hope seemed small. And at last, after a long season of waiting and having our patience tested and stretched, He’s answered our prayers and delivered us into a safe place and a season of rest.
  10. Resting is the hardest part of all. For all of the difficulties involved in moving and transitioning, I think what I struggle with the most is simply receiving this blessing and enjoying it instead of immediately looking to the next thing. I’m not going to lie — the last eight and a half years or so in Tulsa were some of the most challenging years of my life. God used those challenges to grow us in ways we’d never imagined. And now I believe He’s brought us here–beside the still waters, overlooking green pastures–to rest and heal before we move on to whatever He has planned next for us. But I’m so future-oriented and I’m having a really hard time relaxing into this new phase of our lives and enjoying this step along the journey instead of worrying about where we go from here. I’m having to be really intentional about letting go of that worry and trusting that God’s got this and everything’s going to continue to work out as it should, in His time.

What have you learned this spring, dear reader? Do you also have a hard time enjoying the present instead of constantly thinking about the future, or does God’s rest come more naturally to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

I’ll resume my regular blogging schedule next week (Lord willing) with the series on faithfulness that I’d originally planned for March. See you then!


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

What I Learned This Winter

what-i-learned-feb-17This week I’m pausing to join Emily Freeman and her community of readers in talking about what I learned this season. And I’m glad this has come up because this winter had quite a lot to teach me, lessons both big and small (and a little scary).

  1. Apparently you can have two words. Remember back in January when I said I originally thought my One Word for this year was “faithfulness,” but then I felt God nudging me to switch it to “abandon”? Apparently, I’m supposed to focus on both, because no sooner did I set aside “faithfulness” as my word than I started getting bombarded with lessons on both God’s faithfulness and faithful obedience. Like, every single Bible study I’ve done since the beginning of the year has emphasized these things. I’ll be talking about this more in the months to come because I’ve learned a lot on this topic and there’s too much to go into in this post.
  2. I’m actually capable of keeping a clean house. Y’all, I’ve never been able to get this whole housekeeping thing down, and I’m over 40. I figured that at this point, this leopard ain’t going to change her spots, and I was working on accepting this about myself. But this year I kept feeling a nudge to just do my best to be a faithful steward of my home (see item 1 above), and so far, I’ve been doing pretty good. I’m not going to be winning any Good Housekeeping seals of approval or anything, but I’ve managed to pick up some habits that are helping me stay on top of things, and I’m finding that this thing I’ve struggled with all my life is really not that hard. I don’t know if I just reached an age where the adulting switch finally flipped to ON of its own accord or if it’s something else that just clicked into place for me, but something has suddenly transformed me into a halfway decent housekeeper.And I’m not sure what it says about me that this, more than anything else I’ve done — more than getting a publishing deal for my novel series, more than losing weight and keeping it off, more than running a business — makes me feel like a capable, competent grown-up.
  3. Small, faithful steps can accomplish much. Seriously, it never ceases to amaze me what just whittling away at something for 15 minutes a day can accomplish. That’s how I’ve managed to stay consistent (so far, this year) with updating this blog regularly. It’s how my next book is getting plotted and planned (and most likely will also get written). It’s how the sorting and packing is getting done. And it’s also how my house is getting cleaned — not necessarily 15 consecutive minutes a day, but just a few minutes here and there throughout each day. You can fit just about anything you really want to get done into your day if you do it in small bites, and while those tiny bites might feel futile and pointless at first, you’ll be amazed by how quickly they add up to big accomplishments.
  4. I’ve learned a lot about English and Irish history. My husband is reading The English and Their History by Robert Tombs, and it’s put him in the mood to watch these documentary series about English and Irish castles on Netflix, both of which are heavily focused on medieval history. It’s all pretty fascinating. I can’t say I’m retaining a lot but some of it’s sinking in. I can tell you this — it was all pretty bloody.
  5. I think I might be a minimalist. After so many years of living in cluttered chaos and inflicting mindless busyness on myself, I’m so, so tired of it. The Lord’s been working on me for the last couple of years now to get me to slow down and focus more on what really matters, and now I’m at a place where I want my home to reflect that, too. I crave white space not just in my days but also in my environment. The other day I watched the Minimalism documentary on Netflix and it really spoke to me and where I’m at in this season.
  6. I know what my next book is about. And maybe the next two books (in the series) after that. I haven’t got the plot completely hashed out, but I’ve got a pretty good road map and I think I’m almost ready to start writing it.
  7. I also think I know the sort of freelance writing I’d like to pursue. A vision is starting to emerge of being more of a Christian living and home and lifestyle blogger — which coincidentally seems to be the direction this blog is moving into. It feels like a bit of a stretch and it’s a little scary, but I’m trusting God and staying yielded to the kind of work He wants me to do. That seems to be the direction He’s leading me, but I don’t want to presume anything or run ahead of him. This whole sitting back and allowing Him to control and shape my writing career has been working pretty well so far and I sure don’t want to mess that up.
  8. Trader Joe’s Ginger Turmeric tea is delicious. The end.
  9. I learned about hygge. And that I pretty much already practice it but it’s nice to have a name for it, even if it’s funny and hard to pronounce.
  10. We’ve been living catty-corner from a member of a Mexican drug cartel for the last several months. This nugget of information came to our attention a couple of mornings ago when we were awakened by a multi-departmental law enforcement raid on the neighbor’s house, complete with a SWAT team in full armor riding in on a small tank. There were minor explosions, but no gunfire, thank goodness. It was all very exciting — a little too exciting. Lord help us.

That’s quite a lot of learning crammed into a couple of months. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of lessons this next season will bring. The weather people are expecting a rather terrifying spring, with the potential for both more and bigger tornadoes, so there’s going to be plenty of opportunity to exercise faith over the next few months. Where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, indeed.

What have you learned this month? Tell us, or link up your own What I Learned post 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











What I Learned in July


I think July is kind of like the Wednesday of months. It’s the hump month. Once we get over July, it’s kind of a downhill slide into the sweet Friday of fall and the weekend of the holidays. At any rate, this July was a productive one in which I discovered a few worthwhile lessons.

  1. The rest you get from a vacation tends to be shortlived. I’m already tired, y’all.
  2. I can live without Instagram (but I don’t like it). Around the middle of the month, Instagram stopped working on my old phone. I don’t know if it just stopped supporting the older Android OS I was using or what, but I couldn’t log in anymore. Of course, I could still go on the web version and look and comment, but without the app I couldn’t post, plus scrolling on a big computer at my desk isn’t nearly as gratifying as scrolling on my phone while lounging on the sofa. At any rate, last weekend I was finally able to upgrade to a new phone, so problem solved.
  3. Except without Instagram, I was way more productive. Since I couldn’t camp out on the sofa and scroll through all those tiny square adventures, I actually got up and did stuff. Namely, I Konmari’d my bedroom closet and filled about five large bags with stuff to either send in to ThredUp or give away. I also finished my novel, did some hoop embroidery and put some stuff on the walls.
  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I learned this from The Nester as I spent some time going through her blog and really thinking about our house and what kind of space I want it to be (which is a whole ‘nother post). At any rate, as I cleaned out the closet and came across some posters that I had been saving for “some day” when we would get them framed, I was inspired to stop waiting and go ahead and tack them up sans frames. And do you know what? They look fine.
  2. Grief is hard, but it’s a process you have to walk through slowly, and maybe just sit with for a while. This is not a new lesson, but I got a refresher course a week ago as we said goodbye to our 15 year old kitty, Nibblet. I have a tendency to try and rush through the grieving process, or get to a point where I want it to be over so I run from it, and the results are always disastrous. So I’m being intentional to just let myself miss my cat and be sad and allow these feelings to run their course and not worry about whether my sadness is bringing anybody else down or making them uncomfortable. It’s hard, and it means a lot of random crying, but it beats falling into a pit of depression next time something sad happens because I get overloaded by all the unprocessed grief it stirs up.
  3. I’m not in a season right now where I can give this blog the attention I want to give it. I wish I was, but I’m just not. I want to post more regularly, but between writing and editing my novels and running my freelance writing and editing biz, I don’t have a lot of energy left over for writing thoughtful blog posts. I’m praying that this will change some day and I’ll be able to move blogging higher up on the priority list, because I feel that this is important. It’s kind of the only avenue of ministry I have, and although it’s tiny, every time somebody leaves a comment to tell me that a post touched them or spoke to what they’re dealing with, even if it’s just one person, I know it’s worth it and I’m supposed to be here. I just can’t be here as much as I’d like. So I’m giving myself permission to not try to stick to a posting schedule just yet and only post when the Spirit moves me. Ditto sending out my newsletter.
  4. Hello Cocoa is awesome chocolate. I tend to think I never win anything, and that tends to be true when it comes to major prizes like TVs and computers and major cash, but sometimes I get lucky and win drawings for nice little gifts that are like little shots of joy into my life. This time around, I won a giveaway on Holley Gerth’s blog and got a lovely selection of chocolate from Hello Cocoa in nearby Fayetteville, AR. The prize package included not only five gourmet dark chocolate bars (I would take a picture but we’ve already eaten most of them), but also a big bag of premium cocoa nibs AND another big bag of premium cacao tea. You guys, I learned to love cacao tea years ago but the store where I bought it stopped carrying it after I finished that tin and I haven’t had any since. So now cacao tea and I are reunited and it is the highlight of my day. Well, one of them, anyway. So big thanks to both Holley Gerth and Hello Cocoa. The next time we pass through Fayetteville we’ll definitely be stopping in there.

What lessons did you learn in July? Tell us or link up your own list in the comments!




PS – Linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart and Missional Women’s Faith-Filled Friday.


What I Learned in May 2016


May was a bit of a whirlwind. This is probably only the tip of the iceberg in terms of lessons this crazy month had to teach me. If I listed them all we’d be here all day, so here are the most pertinent things I learned in May:

  1. That I’m glad I did Whole30–it actually taught me a lot of things about my health and eating habits, too many to mention here–but paleo as a lifestyle isn’t for me.
  2. That I can work on two books simultaneously, as long as they’re in vastly different stages, and as long as I don’t also try to blog.
  3. That I can make word count on my novel and write an entire freelance article on the same day.
  4. That I shouldn’t try to do that too many days in a row.
  5. That nonfiction and fiction are very different in terms of how agents get signed and publishing deals get made. A lot more work (i.e, actually writing the entire book) is typically required up front in Ficlandia.
  6. That the nursing staff on the cardiac floor of Hillcrest South is pure awesome. Ask me how I know.
  7. That there is a fist-sized hole in our roof, courtesy of a fallen limb.
  8. That we’re surrounded by awesome neighbors.
  9. That Ben & Jerry’s dairy-free ice cream is creamy and delicious.
  10. That God is faithful and his ever-present provision never ceases to amaze me. The way He came through for us and held us up during the tougher and scarier events of this month served as a much-needed reminder of that.

What did YOU learn this May, friend (and can you believe it’s June already? Where is the year going?) Tell us about your own May lessons in the comments!

In love,



PS – I’m linking up this week with Emily P. Freeman, Holley Gerth and Missional Women. Check them out for encouragement and more May reflections!

PPS – Do you know about my newsletter? I send out Daydreamer Dispatches about twice a month. It’s a little more personal, a little more intimate, a little more silly — a place to share the things going on in my life that don’t quite fit on this blog. If you sign up, you’ll get a special, super-sekrit link to my Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools & Resources page! Click the image below to subscribe!

Daydreamer Dispatches

What I Learned In March

This week I’m doing my first link-up with Emily P. Freeman in which we look back on what we learned in the previous month. This is kind of a doozy because March was a big month for me as far as spiritual healing and growth, which means we’re going to get a little vulnerable here. Which brings me to…


1. I learned I need to let myself be more vulnerable. I’m pretty good at that in writing (although there’s room for improvement; also, some people *cough*myhusband*cough* might say I have a tendency to be a little too vulnerable, if by “vulnerable” you mean “tending to overshare about things nobody wants or needs to know”), but face to face I can be pretty reserved and closed off, and it’s hard, even online, for me to reach out, put myself out there and take risks with people. So, praying about that, and resolving to work on it.


2. I learned that I’m a fan of Emily P. Freeman. I’d read posts on (In)Courage and on her blog before that gave me that eerie feeling that she’s peeled back my skull and peered directly into the inner workings of my brain, but after reading her books Simply Tuesday (which I finished in early March) and A Million Little Ways (which I finished last week), that feeling intensified to the point that I got all Anne Shirley over how she’s a kindred spirit. That lady GETS me.


3. I learned that I need to be kinder to my own soul. This includes accepting–nay, even embracing–how God made me instead of constantly fighting it and believing that I’m not enough. It means shedding the lies that the enemy used to prevent me from becoming the woman God wants me to be. And it means understanding that desire, in and of itself, is not a sin, is not selfish, and it’s okay to move beyond survival mode and spend time and money on the things my soul needs to thrive. It’s okay to want nice things for myself.


4. I learned that I enjoy passing the evening with a book instead of a TV show. I mean, I love my shows, don’t get me wrong. But we were in such a habit of feeling like we had to have something to watch together in the evenings, even when our shows aren’t on. But our Prime membership expired and we haven’t gone back to Netflix yet, and we’re down to just a small handful of network shows each week, so for the last couple of weeks we’ve been spending a lot of evenings just sitting quietly together and reading, and it’s been lovely. And I got a TON of reading done this month, which was nice.


5. I learned that my soul needs these things in order to really thrive:
  • Quiet and stillness
  • Opportunities to sit, think, process and dream
  • Opportunities to be creative, not just in writing but also hands-on things like crafting and visually creative things like graphic design or even just doodling
  • Beauty and art
  • Opportunities to connect with nature
  • Pretty things: a pretty home, pretty surroundings, pretty clothes, pretty tools, etc.
  • Intimate connections with people — having a few close relationships with people who really understand me rather than a lot of casual acquaintances
  • Books/good stories via any medium
  • Kindness and gentleness from others; assurance that I’m loved and cared for


6. I learned my “love language,” which is, probably unsurprisingly, me being a word herder and all, words of affirmation. I also realized that I need to feel really listened to, heard and understood in order to really feel loved on a deep level. A close second is physical affection, which also isn’t very surprising, seeing as how I’m both a hugger and a patter.


7. I learned that I think God is nudging me toward writing inspirational romance, except then I went to the bookstore and checked out that section and it all seemed to be stuff about either cowboys or Amish people, so probably that’s the wrong label for it. If there’s a category for chick-lit style books featuring strong and snarky but broken heroines figuring out their lives that are clean and explore Christian themes without being all preachy, then that’s the category I mean.


8. I learned a lot about Jesus. Since the beginning of the year I’ve been slowly working my way through the Gospels (I’m still in Matthew — that’s how slowly) with an eye toward trying to connect more with the human side of Jesus. When I think of Bible characters I can relate to, people like Elijah and Peter and Paul spring to mind — flawed, broken, plain ol’ human people who were prone to screwing up sometimes. As much as I love my Savior, I’ve always had a hard time relating to Jesus as a person. This latest round of gospel reading has really opened my eyes in that regard. This is stuff I plan to elaborate on here on the blog at some point.


9. I learned that I enjoy reading memoirs. It used to be like pulling teeth to get me to read nonfiction, but this year I set an intention to broaden my reading horizons, and so far I’ve been sticking to it. After reading the above-mentioned books, plus Wild in the Hollow and Bird by Bird (which is about as much memoir as it is writing advice), I’m eager to read more in this vein.


10. I learned that I’m really tired of feeling bad and being in constant pain and I’m finally ready to do something about it. Which is why on Monday I’ll be kicking off my first Whole30. I’m slightly trepidatious but mostly I’m looking forward to it.