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Book Update

The Wait is Over!

Thanks so much to my faithful followers who have continued to read and share this blog! I created this blog to be a joy for me and for my audience, but it was becoming a burden. Between my novel writing, my part-time job at a publishing company, and chores (yay for adulting!), my blog couldn’t really get the attention that it deserved.

While on my hiatus, I’ve learned to make time for God, to “go deep,” and to invite God into my plans. A couple of weeks ago, we had an awesome prayer night at our young adult ministry. It was dedicated to making time for God. As a creative, I spent most of the night playing with clay, drawing pictures, and writing psalms. I had a blast! However, it reminded me that God is in control, and that even rest is necessary for me to be successful. I’m an achiever, and I have my to-do list, but maybe I need to add “rest” and “going for a walk” and “coloring” to my daily tasks!

I’ve also been listening to a great podcast called Write from the Deep, by Karen Ball and Erin Taylor Young. They are both novelists who have helped me find the core message of what God wants to write through me. In a nutshell, my message is: God is faithful even when all has failed me. That is my testimony, and that is what I hope to convey in my writing of YA dystopian, which involves creating societies where chaos is the only thing that’s constant. Even in a dystopia (the opposite of a utopia), God is in control.

During this time, I also finished my novel, joined a critique group, and have been waiting to see next steps for publication. My friends gave me wonderful feedback, and my writer friend recommended that I join a critique group to meet other writers in my genre. So far, I’ve met a couple of people who write my genre, and I’m looking forward to connecting with them and seeing their work!

Along with that, I’m going to start building up my newsletter! I honestly didn’t know what to do as a novelist, but I’m going to start writing short stories. I may also advertise novels in my genre that I enjoy, depending on what I find. To get book updates and all things fiction, click here to join my newsletter!

Finally, I’ve considered publishing a non-fiction book, since I already seem to know how to talk about topics such as marriage and anxiety. However, I have to do research, not just for the book, but about how that affects me as a novelist. I’m more about showing my readers how to have healthy marriages or how to overcome anxiety, than I am about telling my readers what to do. Maybe after writing a topic on my blog, I can write a short story about it. Sound good?

Thanks again to all of my faithful followers who have checked up on me the last couple of weeks. Since I’m able to schedule posts in advance (thank you, WordPress!), I’ve gotten a running start, and have published a month’s worth of posts in advance. You’ll be seeing new content about marriage, anxiety, and what God is teaching me.

Comment below if you have any exciting updates to share!

Categories
Book Update

Hope Against the Hopeless

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve decided to take on the genre of Christian dystopian fiction. Dystopian fiction is based on a world or society where everything has gone wrong. Think 1984A Handmaid’s Tale, or The Hunger Games. They’re all set at some uncertain time in the future (well, except for 1984, but it was written in the 1930s so for them the ’80s was a long way ahead!), and they describe societies that promote fear, hopelessness, and deep conversations about the fate of humanity.

After hearing that description, you might be thinking, “Those novels were terribly hopeless! I mean, did you read A Handmaid’s Tale? How could you bring God into plots like that?”

My answer to you is…exactly.

Originally, I had wanted to write a novel about a woman who overcomes anxiety in order to encourage other women to find hope. Well, why not create a society that is completely against the protagonist, and watch a woman navigate her way to hope?

This journey started for me after reading A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I was not only disturbed by the plot and how women were treated in this story, but also the fact that they use the Bible to justify their terrible acts. Is this how Christianity is portrayed to the rest of the world? When we as Christians claim to have the hope that the world needs, is this what people are thinking? After reading this book, I wanted to create a story that discusses what a Biblical society would look like, and if it became a dystopia, why it went wrong.

I had read 1984 in high school, but I read it again this past week to confirm if this genre is the one for me. During the last section, turning each page with anticipation, my heart pounding out of my chest, nausea rising to my throat…yep, I knew that was what I was meant to write. While reading about Winston’s transformation, I thought about the martyrs who were willing to die for their faith. They went through the utmost torture, and yet they would not betray the One they loved. This book reminded me that while humans have limitations, God does not. God is the one who empowers us to make the change we wish to see in the world. Despite the worst case scenario for humanity, God is still in control, and His plan to redeem the world at the end of days is still set in stone.

The book I’m writing is the one I’ve been working on for 4 1/2 years. I had the theme this whole time, but I did not have the plot, an exciting, compelling, gut-wrenching plot. And now I do. Be prepared to sit on the edge of your seat and take in the story of a woman who feels trapped, but might finally have a way out of her mess.

Although I’ve been posting weekly updates on my blog, I’m going to reserve Fridays for book reviews from other great authors. If you want to get weekly updates sent to your e-mail about how my book is doing, click here to subscribe to my newsletter! Thanks for coming along for me on this wild ride. (Note: If you want to subscribe to my blog, which includes content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, click the little “Follow” button on the lower right-hand side of the page. This content will also be e-mailed to you as it is posted).


Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

Categories
Book Update

I Could Never Write Like That!

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading. By reading, I can learn from other writers’ techniques, and can try to figure out why they are published and I am not. Last week, I reread Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, not only because it was free on Kindle Unlimited, but also because JK Rowling is always referred to as the goal for all writers. (“I want to be the next JK Rowling”). Rereading this classic, I couldn’t help but fall in love again with the quirky characters, each and every one of them unique, and find myself wishing I had received that letter to Hogwarts when I was eleven (Ironically, I got saved when I turned twelve, so it was like God gave me a letter to embark on the adventure He had for me!).

While I read this book, however, I couldn’t help but feel a little sense of hopelessness. There was no way I could ever write like JK Rowling. I mean, seriously, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans? Such genius! They’ve even made a game out of it (Beanboozled) that we can enjoy! We feel part of the story through Rowling’s work by figuring out what house we’re in, and even after she’s finished writing the series, the fans are still creating scenarios of what could have happened at Hogwarts. Doesn’t everybody want to write a novel that captures the audience so much that readers are actively talking about it eleven years after the final book was published?

Alas, I’m no JK Rowling, and I never will be. I might as well put down my pen and stop writing altogether.

Unless, what I never was meant to be JK Rowling? What if God gave me a voice that I could use to bring hope to the world and glory to His name?

Even if I rewrote the Harry Potter series, my book would be a little different from the originals, not because I’m a bad writer, but because I’m a different writer. I have my own flavor I add to my writing that JK Rowling doesn’t. This idea reminds me that I’m not in competition with any writer. We both have a voice, a platform that we want to reach, and God is using both of us to accomplish the plans He has for us.

I scan even the Christian market at fiction authors that blow me away with their amazing talent. Francine Rivers? Who could recreate Redeeming Love? The reality is, I was never meant to recreate Redeeming Love. God has given me my own story to tell.

Although we writers are set free from the need to be the next JK Rowling or Francine Rivers, we still have a responsibility. We are still called to excellence. I might not have come up with earwax flavored jelly beans, invisibility cloaks, or a freakin’ sport played on broomsticks with like three different types of balls, but that does not mean I have to write mediocre ideas. I may use time travel, or a dystopian society, or tense conflict, to convey my message. Whatever I end up using, I will use it well. End of story.

So, if you’re a writer, keep writing! Don’t look at the work of the people next to you, unless you can appreciate it. Try to figure out what you’re good at, and then work from there. Think about the message that God has given you to share with the world, and brainstorm how you can best share that message with others. You may not be the next JK Rowling or Francine Rivers, but maybe over time people may want to be the next [enter your name here].


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

Categories
Book Update

The “Fun” Part of Writing a Novel

When I went on the ReNEW writers retreat two weekends ago, I received some great feedback from friends that share my passion and can help me sharpen my vision. It was a pleasure to hear what everyone was working on, and the triumphs they’ve made this past year. Though, I wondered when it would be my turn to release my book and celebrate my accomplishments.

At lunch one day, I caught up with one of my friends from last year, who encouraged me to start my novel.

“How’s your book going?” she asked.

“It’s a train wreck,” I said.

“Oh, really? What’s wrong with it?”

I explained how I met with a literary agent and he gave me some good pointers, but I feel like my book is total trash.

“Okay, so, what’s wrong with it?”

I shrugged. “The setting doesn’t make sense.”

“So, basically the setting is your problem?”

With those words, it clicked. That was the only problem with my book! The characters were solid, the writing was legit, and the theme was evident. I just didn’t know where to put my little cherubs. What location, what time period, would serve them best, and help me get the message across?

Well, the literary agent I met with suggested Christian fantasy, because the island of Verdaria, where my characters are currently meeting, is a fictional country. I might have made it more complicated than it is. That’s a good story in and of itself. I wanted my main character to travel to Spain and found out some dark secrets from her past, but why does she have to leave Verdaria? Verdaria has some nasty secrets too! Tori can find out all she needs to know through this fantasy world, while encouraging the reader to explore a new land that has never been discovered by us in “reality.”

As you know, the temptation for me is to write a completely new book. I already have the idea for a new book, and I’m super excited about it, but I have to finish my current book first. My current book is not a train wreck. It’s not trash. I just have to be the master of my own world and mold a world for the theme to shine and the characters to thrive. Or not. Muahaha!

I told Lenny yesterday the plot for my new book. When he heard that the characters had the same name as my current manuscript, he stopped me mid-sentence. “What? You’re rewriting your book again? Stop it! It’s fine. Just finish it and make this book another one.”

My husband is an IT professional, not a writing professional, but God used his blatant honesty to open my eyes and see that I need to edit this thing! Did I mention that the literary agent I met with told me my book was good enough to be published? I don’t think that translates to “total trash.” That means I actually have a shot at having my book traditionally published! Hallelujah!

It is so much easier to write a whole new book than to fix the pieces of my current book. Freewriting is my favorite. I love telling stories, and stringing words together, even if they don’t make total sense. But editing is the fun part of writing. It’s using the mind that God has given me to figure out the best way to communicate a message, to use these words I love to bring out a compelling story, and to use my perseverance to grow my faith and increase my endurance. By self-editing, I have the privilege of reading my book before anyone else! It’s a free pre-release copy that I don’t have to order.

As I improve my self-editing ability, my writing ability will also improve. I’ll be making less mistakes as I learn what my common mistakes are. So, overall, self-editing is a win-win!


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Categories
Book Update

The Soothing Pain of Rejection

This past weekend on the reNEW writer’s retreat, I had hoped to tell everyone that my novel was finished and it was in the hands of a literary agent. However, two weeks before the retreat, I read a book called Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell that made me reconsider my whole plot. After talking with some friends, I realized that the only change that really needs to take place is the setting, but I still had a bend in my pride when I had to tell a literary agent I met that I wasn’t ready to send it in yet.

I’ve submitted my book to six literary agents. I know that the Christian fiction market is not doing too well, but I have a passion to help people see a relatable character through fiction to help them overcome their anxiety, find their purpose in life, and walk in their identity with Christ. I actually have three novel ideas that each branch from these topics. However, each time I receive a rejection from a literary agent, I wonder if God’s plan for me is to write this novel, or if it’s just my own dream.

Each time I submitted my book to another literary agent through e-mail, I prayed that God would lead me to the right literary agent, and that even if it didn’t work out, that the agent would have just enough spare time to tell me why he/she did not accept my proposal. Literary agents are typically very busy, so to expect a response from an agent is a tall order. However, as a writer trying to publish her first book, I need all the advice I can get. Of the six times I submitted my book, I heard back from two. The first one that rejected my manuscript has a blog that I follow, which has helped me tremendously as a writer.

The second agent who rejected my manuscript decided to give me some advice, which I greatly appreciated. He told me that the Christian fiction market wasn’t doing too well, so a lot of agents are steering clear of that. He also gave me advice about how to make my book better, and he encouraged me to keep attending conferences. Finally, he told me to keep pressing on, and God will lead me where He wants me to go. I am incredibly honored that this man who has very little time to spare took the time out to impart wisdom to a woman beginning her humble journey as a writer. It even looks like I got a word of blessing from him!

I share my personally journey of writing a book because, when I am a bestselling author of something, I want to look back and remember where I started. I want to encourage writers who aren’t there yet to keep going. Rejection is not the end of your story. God has given you a voice; use it to glorify Him.

Success is not defined by the end product. You may look at a book and think, “Well anyone can write a book.” However, you don’t realize the blood, sweat, and tears that went into writing it. Not everyone can write a book. It takes vulnerability, dedication, and insight.

I never want to be so famous/busy that I forget about the people that I met along the way. My why is to encourage women and the stories that God has given them. I don’t care how much money I make or what places I’m able to travel to; I never want to get to a place where I ignore or automate any experience I have with a woman who is desperate to share her story with me. I want each and every person I encounter to feel encouraged and to feel loved. If I’m making millions of dollars and I live in a fancy home with beautiful flowers and I have a social media team writing my tweets for me, I’ve lost my why, and I’ve failed at my goal.

Rejection hurts, but it’s not the end of my story. Even as I was writing this blog post, I had to remind myself that the rejection was not of me, but of my book. And as my friend encouraged me last week, the book may be great, but it might not be marketable at the time. It’s literally in God’s hands.

I say to myself what I say to you if you are struggling to fulfill your dreams: Don’t give up!


Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Categories
Book Update

4 Myths & 1 Truth of Freelance Working From Home

Having worked as a freelance writer and editor now for three months, I can say I’m finally a novice at this! Much of freelance work and working from home is discipline and determination. I thank God that I have both of these gifts, or else I would never be able to do this. I also would never be able to do this without the loving support of my husband, Lenny, who encourages me every day to pursue my dreams.

Over the past couple of months, I’ve heard some myths about what it’s like to work from home. I have experience working in stores, offices, and schools, and working from home is a totally different experience. If you’re curious about what I do, check out what I’ve learned so far about being a work-from-home freelance writer and editor.

MYTH: You get to work in your pajamas all day

This is the statement I get most often from people when I tell them I work from home. While it is true that I can work in my pajamas all day, I don’t prefer to do so. Christy Wright writes in her book Business Boutique that we should dress for success. Like when you get ready for work to go to an office or a place away from your home, you need to establish a routine so that you can start your day with motivation. There are days when I feel like hanging out in my pajamas, but those days I don’t get anything done. If I equate those outfits to sleeping, I’m not thinking about working; I’m thinking about sleeping! I usually have my outfit picked out the day before, so that I could get dressed and go right to work.

MYTH: You’re lonely

I am an introvert, so I love being alone. I have to be intentional about leaving my house and spending time with friends and family, but quality time with loved ones has turned into a joy. I’m now seeing them because I want to, not because I have to since I work with them or because it’s another thing on my to-do list. I also want to take a moment and challenge all offices: I’ve heard many a story of people who show up to work and don’t speak to a single person all day. Sure, you’re surrounded by people, but you’re still lonely. To me, that’s worse than isolating myself in my home office. If you work in an office, reach out to someone new today. You never know what struggles people are carrying.

MYTH: You don’t get anything done

Studies produced from the last couple of years have shown that the average person only gets about 2 hours and 53 minutes of work done in an 8-hour work day, and that doesn’t include the hour-long commute most of us have to travel to and from work. So if I work 3 intentional hours from home, I’m working more than you, office worker. And since I’m my own boss, I can create my own schedule, which includes personal time. I make time to eat an hour-long lunch, go for a walk, clean the house (as needed), and read. I set a timer on my phone for one hour at a time, and then I put my phone on the other side of the room. I don’t do anything but edit, write, or read a book about writing until the timer goes off. When we’re intentional about our work, we get more done.

MYTH: You don’t make a lot of money

At first, this is true. When you work an office or retail job, you get a contract and a salary and benefits and all that. When you are starting your own business, you start with $0. When you put yourself on the internet and say, “Hey, I have a new business!” no one knows you who are. But when you apply those discipline techniques into your work, you will see more of a clientele over the next couple of months. As the Bible alludes to on multiple occasions, you reap what you sow. When you put work into your business, you will see the fruit of that work.

Truth: It is a fun adventure

I love what I do, so much. I have the opportunity to create my own schedule and workload. I create my own vacation time. It’s not that I don’t have a boss, but I am my own boss. There is a difference. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m closer than I was a few days ago. Working from home has been such a blessing, and I can’t wait to see how God grows the vision that he has given me.


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Categories
Book Update Marriage

Make Your Own Dream

When you first get married, you think that you will always agree with your husband. Let’s pop that bubble right now: You’re going to disagree, and it will probably be messy.

I can only speak from a woman’s perspective, but I was taught that my wedding day would be the greatest day of my life, where all my dreams will come true. But it wasn’t. Why? Because my dream wasn’t my husband’s dream. We both had a say in our wedding, so we mixed both my vision of what the perfect wedding would look like, and his, and formed our own special day. That vision required compromise from both of us.

As a couple, you will have to make a ton of decisions together. When are we getting married? Where are we going to live? When are we having kids? How are we going to raise our kids? Whether long-term or short-term, you will have to work together to make decisions on a regular basis.

Currently, our next major decision is buying a house. We still have a couple of months before we can afford a down payment, but we’re taking the time we’re waiting to figure out what we want before we buy the first house we see. We’re finding that our ideas of a dream house are both totally different. For example, I want a big backyard with a ton of lawn space, while Lenny wants to cover our front yard and backyard with cement and pavers! I grew up with a big backyard, so I’ve always imagined our kids running around a safe grassy space (Barefoot, probably, because who doesn’t love the feeling of grass on their bare feet?). Lenny, on the other hand, wants a lot of cars, so he wants to have enough driveway space for his possessions. I’m not saying my way is right and his way is wrong, or vice versa, but that we obviously have a different way of looking at our space.

How are we going to make this decision? Well, like every other decision, here is what we’ve committed to do as a couple:

  • Be clear. I could write a blog post alone about how to be clear. But before you could decide what you both want together, you have to decide what you both want individually. Like my example of finding our dream house, I generally want a space big enough for our future family, but specifically, I know that I want a big backyard, hardwood floors, and an open concept to our house. That’s pretty clear. And Lenny can work with that.
  • Make a list. I love lists! They help to make things even more clear, and they provide a visual. Write down everything you want in your dream house. I recommend making your lists in separate locations (you sitting on your couch and your husband sitting at your dining room table, for example) so you don’t influence each other’s preferences.
  • Circle similarities. Find a common ground. We both want a safe neighborhood and a good school district. We both have the same housing budget. We both have the same location desires. Those are our starting points. Those are non-negotiable. Everything else will have to be discussed.
  • Discuss everything else on the list. For whatever else is on your list, you both need to decide how necessary the other items are. How important is it for me to have a big backyard? If there is a park nearby, can I take my kids there to play instead of using our backyard space? What about for Lenny? If the current driveway is big enough, maybe we won’t need to completely get rid of the grass in the front yard. Regardless, you must talk about each point with your spouse and see how necessary it is.

If you can’t agree, don’t make a decision yet. We need to wait. Circumstances may change our mind over time. Maybe our kids will be allergic to grass, for example. Keep praying and wait it out. Don’t compromise your marriage for any decision. Whatever you do, make sure you put God first, your marriage second, your kids third, and everything and everyone else, last. You can disagree with me, but then we’ll just have to agree to disagree.


Photo by Andre Revilo on Unsplash

Categories
Book Update

Dedicated to the Dreaming Little Girl

When cleaning through my bookshelf a few months ago, I found a journal that I had to write in for school when I was in second grade. Not only was I a riot of a writer and a spunky child; I was also dedicated and I believed in myself. I did not know the Lord yet, but the Lord knew me, and he had a plan for me that I believe started with a little seed He planted deep in my heart.

On January 31, 2000 (more than 18 years ago!), my seven-year-old self wrote: “I can be a writer and write a lot of books. I will write stories at school and draw pictures, like now. And when I get to be a grown-up, I will make thousands of books.”

If only she knew what she would become. If only she knew what would happen to her. Just thinking about the goodness of God in the mess of my life brings tears to my eyes.

When I was a little girl, I loved to read. Not only did I enjoy stories, but I also enjoyed words. I prided myself in being the best reader in kindergarten, and then in getting an award for my writing in first and second grade. My dream of writing books stemmed out of my passion for reading and for words. I didn’t want to make a name for myself. I didn’t want to make money. At seven years old, I wanted to write a book that children like me would enjoy.

Don’t worry, little dreamer, your time is coming soon.

I had written those words just before my life took a turn for the worst. When I wrote these words, I didn’t know what anxiety was at the time. I didn’t know what divorce was at the time. I didn’t know that my puppy that I was excited to get would only live a few months before he was tragically hit by a car. I thought evil stepparents only existed in fairy tales. But shortly after I composed this journal, I learned the true weight of evil in the world, and I suffered greatly because of it.

I’ve written a book about a woman who struggles with anxiety and faith. At that young age of seven, I’d gone to Sunday school and had learned a foundation for my future relationship with Christ, but I did not know Him yet. This book will be what my seven-year-old self needed, the weapons she needed to slay the beasts that were attacking her poor innocent soul.

Just like my seven-year-old self predicted, I already have three other ideas for adult fiction, and I have one idea for a children’s book. It’s not quite a thousand, but it’s close.

They say that the first book is the most difficult to publish traditionally. However, once I learn the market, once I find my voice, they say it will be like clockwork. After writing the first one, I’ll be able to write thousands after that.

Don’t worry, little dreamer, your time is coming soon.

I dedicate my first novel, and every novel after that, to my seven-year-old self, the girl who believed in me when no one else did, the girl who had a dream and who wanted it to be done. If she was ever able to jump into a time machine and come talk to me now, to ask me if I ever became a writer, I want to look her straight in her innocent blue eyes, with her sweet smile, and tell her that her dream came true.

Don’t worry, little dreamer, your time is coming soon.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me thus far, and to every family member and friend that has helped me along the way. You watched this little dreamer grow up, and you know that there is no turning back now.

Categories
Book Update

Book Update: You Can Help!

This book has been a journey that has taken a lot longer than the perfectionist in me has expected!  I have finally finished editing my third rewrite.  The editing involved taking the 80,000 words I had written and seeing what fit into the plot of my book, what needed to be cut, and what needed more development.  I have a bullet point list of what I need to develop.

Would you like to help me?

My book is about a woman who struggles with anxiety.  I know my own struggle with anxiety, but I don’t want the main character’s experience to be one-sided.  My goal for this book is to have a familiar character that encourages those who struggle with anxiety that they are not alone.  If you have an anxiety disorder of any kind, click here to fill out a special form for you.  As the form explains, your answers are confidential and your name will not be shared anywhere.  Please answer as honestly as possible, and if you want to speak further with me about it, please provide your e-mail address so that I can reach out to you.  Your story will make my character more relatable.

I’ve had experience helping others with anxiety, and I believe this experience will help me create an environment for my character to find hope in the midst of anxiety.  If you are a therapist and/or have experience with helping people with anxiety, click here to fill out a special form for you.  Please do not include anyone’s names or relationship to you so that you don’t not break the confidentiality.  Your name will not be shared.  Please answer as honestly as possible, and if you want to speak further with me about it, please provide your e-mail address so that I can reach out to you.

I’m posting this on a Tuesday.  I am going to give you all until Saturday to fill out the form if you are interested.

Now that I’ve taken such a long time to write this book, I want to make sure I do it right.  I want to put more research into the book, to show that I have fully invested in this story.  I want to find just the right setting, just the right character development, and just the right ending to comfort a hurting soul.

Thank you for your help in my endeavor, whether through prayer, encouragement, or providing feedback.


Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

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Book Update

My Blog’s Best of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I thought it would be fun to show how my blog has grown this year.  I’ve gained a lot of support and feedback over the year, and I’m excited at how God has used it to touch lives all over the world!

This year, people from thirty different countries have viewed my blog.  I’ve always said that I wanted to be a world traveler, and it seems that my writing is doing that for me!  Glory to God!  Here are the top ten countries that have viewed my blog in 2017:

  1. United States
  2. India
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Australia
  5. Canada
  6. Thailand
  7. Germany
  8. Ireland
  9. Israel
  10. Spain

If you are from those countries or are residing in any of those countries, thank you for your support!  I pray that my blog has been able to help you overcome anxiety, put God first in your marriage, or dig deeper into His Word.

In terms of views, here are the top ten blog posts of 2017:

  1. Why the First Year is the Hardest
    My first year of marriage wasn’t hard, but it did involve a lot of surrender and a lot of changes!  Find out how we were able to cope with those changes.
  2. Feelin’ Great After Reading This Book!
    One of my friends from church wrote the book Lose Weight and Feel Great.  I believe one of the reasons why this book review was viewed so much is because my friend shared this on his Facebook page.  Shameless plug: If you read a blog post and you love it, please share it!  My goal is to encourage people all over the world, and if something I write encourages you, maybe it will encourage your friends!
  3. My Husband is Not My Everything
    As much of a shocker as it is to society, my husband is not my everything.  Having the biblical perspective of marriage has truly improved our marriage and has helped us have healthy expectations of each other.
  4. I Have the Best Husband Ever…And Here’s Why
    Find out why my husband is the absolute best.  I know all of you with husbands would disagree, but that’s actually the point!
  5. The Power of a Nagging Wife
    This was the first blog I wrote this year, actually.  This was the post that got me back into writing.  This blog post, to the glory of God, really encouraged a lot of wives who are tempted to control their husbands.
  6. What You Say When You Attend a Wedding
    After attending about five weddings last year, including our own, we learned a thing or two about what it means to attend a wedding.  It is more than just the food, the dancing, and the drinking!
  7. Finding Financial Freedom as a Couple
    We’re debt free!  It’s amazing.  We want to share with you all what we’ve learned about financial freedom and how it is possible in this expensive, manipulative world.
  8. Anxiety Brings Me Closer to God
    I’ve been asking God to remove anxiety from my life, but looking back, it seems that God has been using my anxiety to bring me closer to Him.
  9. What’s Better than Lovey Dovey Feelings?
    People have been telling us from the beginning that our love is going to fade.  What we’ve found, and what we believe, is that our love will always be strong.
  10. Wrapped in His Arms: My Story of Singleness
    I remember being single and literally crying my eyes out some days because I felt so alone.  But I realized during those difficult days that I’m never alone.

Thanks again for helping make 2017 a great year!  For those who have been following, please let me know in the comments how this blog has impacted you this year, or if you have any feedback about how I could improve my blog in 2018.

My goals for next year are to write blogs ahead of time and have a more structured schedule.  In about 45 minutes, I’m going to watch a workshop about how to manage my time, and my husband bought me a planner for Christmas (thanks for loving the nerd in me, honey!).  My ultimate goal is to be more involved in my writing in general, but I’m at a season in my book where I’ll be doing more editing than writing, so that means more writing time to blog!  I’ll be focusing mostly on anxiety and marriage, but I’ll throw in some book reviews when I find a good read.

Happy New Year, everyone!  May God bless you abundantly in 2018.