“You Don’t Have to Like it; You Just Need to Appreciate It”-Book Review of “Pull it Off”

#Sponsored by FaithWords

I read Pull it Off by Julianna Zobrist in approximately one day (give or take a couple of hours). I was hungry for what this book had to tell me. I mean, listen to the tagline: “Removing Your Fears and Putting on Confidence.” BAM! Who wouldn’t use a little extra dose of confidence in their lives? Here is how it is summed up by FaithWords: “Singer of the hit song ‘Shatterproof,’ Julianna Zobrist digs deep into her own life to reveal how we can maximize our true identities and lean into our unique gifts.” The cover design displays how fun and creative the author is, and how she has used her platform to speak a message that any woman who breathes in fear and breathes out Jesus needs to hear.

For those who don’t know, Julianna Zobrist is a writer, music artist, fashion muse, and social media influencer, among other things. She’s got this Color Kids thing going on that you should check out. You baseball fans might know her as Ben Zobrist’s wife. How does she pull it off? Julianna confesses that she gets this question a lot. She wears funky outfits, writes great music, shows up to her husband’s baseball games, and raises three kids. How does she pull it off? Well, she’s asking herself the same thing, because there are days when she didn’t feel like she was good enough. As you’ll see when you read this book, Zobrist has learned to put fear in the backseat and rely on God to provide her strength and confidence.

Throughout the pages of Pull it Off, you will find Julianna’s vulnerability and courage within every page. She doesn’t have it all figured out, but she wants to help you anyway. She doesn’t want to share her vulnerability, but she fights beyond her comfort zone to bring us a fantastic testimony. There’s even science and psychology in this book! I’m so excited!

The book is split into three parts that each address the root of our insecurities: authority, identity, and security. The underlying theme is challenging how we should think, feel, and behave. She attacks the shoulds of parenting, marriage, and being a woman. In a way, she exposes the false shoulds and replaces them with authentic shoulds, the shoulds that God says about us.

In a nutshell, I would summarize her story with this: Love my own style while appreciating others. We don’t have to conform. We don’t have to perform. All we need is to shine, because we are made in God’s image. There’s no better person to say that than a woman who wears outfits that contain every color of the rainbow! She has a style that works for her, and it’s awesome.

What she said about fashion and confidence actually hit me square in the face. I judge people all the time, and I want them to conform to my standards. On the other hand, I get upset when people judge how I dress or how I act. My takeaway from this book is to figure out what I love and learn to appreciate the style of others.

Typically, when I read a book, I usually forget most of what I read. I don’t know how Zobrist “pulled this off,” but having read the book yesterday, I can give you almost every detail of what I read. She did such a good job explaining the scientific stuff, and although it sounded repetitive at first, what she said is stuck in my brain. I’m thankful for the repetition. That will be helpful when I have to face my fears and live a confident life. Each moment we live is another opportunity to grow our courage just a little bit more.

I do not agree with everything I theologically in this book, but if you are looking for a book that isn’t preachy, I believe Zobrist did a good job of keeping it simple and easy to understand.

This book, published by FaithWords, will be on sale September 18th of this year. You can see it first on the FaithWords website.

*I put pink post-its in the book to remember parts of the book that I like, but look how nicely it matches the book?

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.


Review of “Business Boutique” by Christy Wright

My husband gave me this book when we decided it was time for me to start working from home as a freelance writer and editor. The smell of the new book energized me to want to read it and start my business. He gave it to me the day I put in my two weeks, so I made it a priority to read the nineteen chapters of the book before I officially stopped working at the office.

This gift from my husband was affirmation to me that he believed in me and he knew I could do it. As I would read Christy Wright’s (or Dave Ramsey’s in the Foreword) words, I imagined my husband saying, “You can do this, honey. You made the right decision.” Ultimately, through this transition, God’s approval has been the most evident of all! Thank God for His blessings.

Christy Wright’s Business Boutique is specifically geared for women who want to start a business doing what they love. She discusses all types of female-led businesses, from side-hustles (a job you do aside from your full-time job), full-time jobs, to businesses run by “mompreneurs” (women who work from home while taking care of young children). Her entrepreneurial innovation was deeply ingrained into her by her mother, who risked all the money she had to make a living for her family doing what she loved: making cakes. Wright takes her mother’s work tactics, as well as what worked in her own career, and created a four-tier business plan that is easily adaptable for anyone. The plan includes finding your motivation, deciding what to charge, establishing policies and “terms and conditions,” sorting through tax information, and promoting your business to make a profit.

Business Boutique is a fun, easy read that makes the idea of starting and running a business digestible. Since she crafts this book for women, Wright includes topics that target the struggles of female business owners, including balancing life and work, creating a schedule, having boundaries, raising kids, and comparison. The best part is that Wright doesn’t leave us hanging; at the end of each chapter, she provides action steps to help us process what we just read and put your business plan into action immediately.

Christy’s book has been helpful as I begin my writing and editing career. Publishing a book in and of itself is like a business (we writers tend to forget that!), but I also have a vision for helping women like me develop a confidence to tell their own stories. You can check out the editing and consulting services I offer on my “services” page.

Although this book was about starting a business, I received some personal affirmation that really gave me confidence not only in my freelance career, but also in my identity as a Christian woman. This quote affirms my passion for writing fiction, to not only to inform but also inspire: “…People don’t need more information, they need inspiration. They need to believe and have buy-in, and the best way to accomplish that is through story” (226).

Her chapter on balancing life and work also speaks to me about establishing healthy boundaries. The following quotes are my favorite from this chapter:

“‘No’ is a complete sentence” (291).

“If you don’t protect what matters to you, no one else will” (292).

“It’s the difference between looking through the front windshield to see where you’re going instead of looking in the rearview mirror to see what you’re momentarily leaving behind” (293).

If these quotes inspire you, or you’re looking to start your own business, you can buy Christy Wright’s book on her website In preparation for this post, I discovered that her website has blog posts, podcasts, and other resources to help you even further in your business. Whether you want to make money from a hobby that you enjoy, you want to pay off some debt, or you want a fun way to support your family, Christy Wright’s book Business Boutique will help you make those initial steps, as well as every step along the way.

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


A Reminder of my Call

My husband gave me the book Called to Create by Jordan Raynor as an anniversary gift.  I heard about the book through a YouVersion Bible plan that the Call to Create team had written about C. S. Lewis.  This four-day devotional inspired me to want to read more about Christian creatives who were using their gifts to honor God.

As you all know, that is my ultimate goal: to write books/short stories in order to encourage others and to bring glory to God, especially through offering help for those who suffer from anxiety.  Throughout the years, God has shaped my vision for becoming a writer and for using my writing abilities for his glory.  This book was honestly the climax of that realization of my vision.  It was truly a confirmation that God was calling me to create.

The book is clearly for those who feel they are called to create.  Who has called us?  God, the First Entrepreneur, the First Creator (notice how the beginning of time began with creation!), has entrusted to us the ability to create.  As an entrepreneur himself of several successful businesses, Raynor also includes that creation is not just for those who are in the arts but for those who are also business owners who create businesses.  Because that is his forte, he tends to focus on entrepreneurship as a form of creating.

I learned from this book that creating for the Kingdom of God requires risk.  Some people give up their successful jobs to create new jobs from scratch.  When they trusted God, not only were they successful, but they were also fulfilled.  I need to trust God with my creation as well, with my book and with my ultimate career as a writer.  People may say that it’s impossible, or even unwise, but it is what I believe God has called me to do.  It’s one of those things where I don’t have the full picture yet, but I know God does, and He is leading me one step at a time.

I anticipated the book to be ten chapters about ten people who were called to create and did wonderful things through their creations for the glory of God.  The book instead is actually more like a research paper, which is good in some ways because it is not just Jordan Raynor talking about how great his business is or all the knowledge he has.  However, it was borderline plagiarism at some points when he used large block quotes that were about the size of the whole page.  Nevertheless, I did enjoy hearing the stories of people such as Corrie Ten Boom’s father (who had a watch shop), Truett Cathy (founder of Chick-Fil-A), and of course, C. S. Lewis and the Inklings.

Raynor does an incredible job of weaving the stories in and really bringing his ideas together.  I have heard that “anyone can write a book” but as a woman who has spent three years trying to write a book, it is not that easy!  Especially for people who are actually business owners; their full-time job is not writer!

The main point of the book is to recognize that full-time ministry for God does not necessarily have to involve missions work or being a pastor.  You can serve God in the secular world as well, whether it is through starting your own business, being an obedient employee, or creating works of art.  When God called me to dedicate my life to Him, I thought that meant that I had to be a missionary.  While I do love cultures and I do want to travel all over the world, I believe that God can use me to serve Him all over the world simply through writing an inspirational book.  And as I’ve seen, God has used my writing to speak to people all over the world.  I believe He will continue to do so.

I am now more encouraged than ever to write my novel for God, in hopes that people who struggle with anxiety will find new hope and peace in the midst of their suffering.  Keep me in prayer as I have just begun editing my book and creating a sense of structure from my free writing jumble.

If you are called to create, or if you have questions about what that looks like, I would definitely recommend getting this book.  You can find out more information on this website.

Creatives, let’s change the world through our writing, art, photography, and businesses for God’s glory!

Books Marriage

How to Pray for Your Husband

This is actually a book review for the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.  This book was recommended to me by several people, especially those who saw me reading it.  I’ll admit that because of the high expectation that I had of the book based on the high praises I received about it, I did not find the book to match up to my expectations.  Overall, it had a lot of great ideas for how to pray for my husband, and it was formatted in a way that made it easy for me to plan my prayers.  But it sort of seemed like the author had her own way of dealing with her husband, in terms of how she presented herself and what pleased her husband, that she portrayed as necessary for all women to have to do.  All men are different, and while they might have similarities, they do not all have the same needs and there is no textbook answer of how to meet our husband’s needs.

Nevertheless,  I did learn some good points that I believe will strengthen my marriage and help me to be more strategic in my prayers.  One thing I learned is to “shut up and pray.”  I’ve learned from experience that when my husband is struggling with something, he gets upset at me if I tell him what to do.  He does not want me to belittle him; he wants me to trust him.  When I can’t trust him, I pray, because I can trust God to intervene.  Either God will change my husband’s mind, or He will soften my heart to the issue.  It is better to pray for my husband and to let God be the one to tell him what to do.  Instead of criticizing everything he does wrong, when I see him doing something I don’t like, I should let God speak.  What he is doing may be totally wrong, or it might be exactly what God wants him to do, but I have to let God make that decision, not me.

The book is formatted with information about an area of life to pray for your husband, an example prayer, and finally key verses that can help guide your own personal prayers.  The book contains thirty chapters of areas to pray for your husband, one for each day of the month.  The first chapter, the longest chapter, is a prayer for his wife.  That’s me.  We often want to change our spouses, but it turns out that God is stirring in our hearts the desire to change.  We might get frustrated that our husbands do things we don’t like, especially if they did not do those things when we were dating.  But maybe the problem is not with our husbands.  Maybe it’s our perception of what he is doing that is wrong.  We should pray for ourselves first, to have an attitude that reflects Christ and a submissive heart that encourages our husband and does not tear him down.  We should also be reading the Word of God and praying the Scriptures over our husbands.  God’s Word can help guide and direct our prayers.

I believe that the point of the book is to develop a discipline of spending time in prayer with the Lord.  When your first priority is your husband, you are not inclined to make time for God.  But when your husband starts to do things that annoy you or worry you, that’s when God starts to grab your attention.  That’s when you turn to Him again.  And you can try as hard as you want to make your husband change, but only God can do that.

After reading this book, my plan is to see what my husband struggles with and pray for something new each day.  If I have to confront my husband on something, I will bring it to the Lord first.  It may involve simply praying about it.  But, with the Lord’s guiding, it may also involve having a graceful conversation about the issue.

I pray for unity in your marriage, and for God to speak to your heart as you pray on behalf of your husband.  Whether you want to change your husband’s habits, or you genuinely care about his salvation and his obedience to the Lord, God hears you and He is able to answer your prayer in such  a perfect way.

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

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.

Book Update

Managing Time to Write

Last week, I shared about my dreams and goals as a writer and how God is bringing those things to fruition.  Over the Thanksgiving break, when I had four days off, I wrote approximately 3,500 words a day toward my book, and several blog posts.  In the time I was off, I wrote over 15,000 words.  That’s incredible, huh?  I was on fire.  I was ready to write the rest of my book by the end of the week ahead.

But then I returned to work, “life” got in the way, and it was hard for me to write more than 300 words a day, which is the minimum amount I allow myself to write a day.  I have to be honest and share that the week after Thanksgiving that was a difficult one for me.  That week, I worked my normal 9-5 job, had a full schedule of appointments at my second job (6-9PM two nights a week), was involved in several ministries and small groups at church, blogged, and cleaned my house (it’s already messy again!).  During this busy time, I had to make some hard decisions, and my book took a backseat.  And it made me feel terrible about myself.  Why can’t I juggle all the stuff that I’m doing and still have time to do what I love?

When life gets in the way, life has to take priority sometimes.

I’ve learned from several writer friends that God uses the busy seasons in our lives to fuel our writing.  This encouragement set me free from my self-criticism and negative self-talk.  All of the things in my life are for God.  My marriage is for God.  My family is for God.  The GEMS Girls Ministry and College Ministry are both for God.  My job is for God.  My second job is for God.  My book is for God. So doing any of those things are not hindrances, but are blessings.

But how am I able to do all of the above?

Jesus gives us a great example, the perfect example, of how to manage our time.  Jesus focused on what was right in front of Him, not what was coming up or what had already passed.  He did not worry about what was still left to do.  He relied on the rhythms of grace, the grace of His Father.  Knowing this about how Jesus managed His time gives me such peace and such reassurance that God is the one who orders my steps.

Writer friends, do you feel that you need more time to get your writing done?

Last week, I was able to see a preview of Christa Hutchins’ workshop “Boss Your Time Around,” which includes a creative and easy way to manage time.  Christa is a wise, tech-savvy woman who helps writers start up blogs, promote their writing through social media, and now manage your writing time better. The resources she provides involve tips to putting your time in order, whether you blog, write, edit, rewrite, go on conferences, or meet with clients.

The workshop is available online and at two different times: Saturday, December 30th or Saturday, January 6th from 10AM-2PM.  Registration is $35, but use the code PLAN10 to take 10% off. For more information, and to register, click here.

I’ll be going!  Will you be there?

Photo by Kevin on Unsplash

Book Update

Book Update: Coming out of the Darkness

It is crazy to think that my book journey began three years ago.  I’ve learned from several writers that it is normal to take several years to write a first novel.  However, I am my own worst critic!  As much as it is possible for my first book to be amazing, I need to be patient with myself and just let myself learn.

Generally, the pattern for writing a novel is: come up with a storyline/plot/characters, free write with the storyline/plot/characters in mind, edit raw manuscript, rewrite the manuscript accordingly, repeat steps 2-4 as many times as needed, submit book to publisher, get offer from a publisher, do edits with the publisher, and finally get a finished work.  I’m on step 5b.  I’m rewriting the book, but this is actually not my first time doing so.

The first time I wrote it, it was too “dark” as my mom called it.  I had a lot of raw emotion that I wanted to add to the book, but for the average reader, my emotion would have been too heavy.  It was, as professional writers would say, “telling, not showing.”

Then the second time I wrote the book, I realized that while I was getting better at being descriptive, my storyline was not making sense.  My characters also seemed flat.  I had very specific characters that I wanted to use, but they did not fit the way my book was turning out.

I hate giving up control, but as a Christian, I believe that God directs me to write the book in a specific way to reach a specific audience.  I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to write about, and God has shaped it into something different each time I sit down at the keyboard.  Since the retreat I went on in October, I’ve learned how to develop real characters and a storyline that was interesting and made sense.

So since October 6th, I have been free-writing my third rewrite of this book.  That  means that I write with no agenda.  I sit in front of my Chromebook for an hour and spew whatever works come out of me onto my Google Docs word document.  My goal is been to write 80,000 words by the end of the year.  As of Sunday, when I last worked on it, I have written 66,813 words.  I’ll be finished with the rough manuscript in two weeks!

I am finally at the stage where I can name my audience and my plot.  For a while, I was trying to write this book to all people at all times.  However, my book needs to have an audience.  Instead of trying to please everyone, I need to write as if my story was just meant to reach one person.  I now have my person.  My audience is a young person (mature 16 to 24) who struggles with an anxiety disorder, whether it is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, OCD, obsessive thoughts, Anxiety/Depression, Phobias, or just plain worry.  I know someone who deals with each of those things, one of them being the one writing this.  I wrote this book with the question playing in the back of my head: If someone were to write a story that can help me find peace and experience freedom from this trap, what would I write?

Now, I know I can’t answer all the problems of the world.  I know that my voice is a small whisper compared to the shout of those who are suffering.  But I have a story, a story that has helped me find freedom from my anxiety.  And while I still struggle, I believe that God has helped me tremendously with a disorder that has plagued me for so long.  Instead of sharing my testimony, I want to share a story.  I want to share it through the eyes of a fictional character, hoping that doing so will help my readers imagine themselves as the main character, believing that they can experience the same freedom and hope that I have.

The book is about a girl who grows up in a society where everyone is Christian.  But she feels like an outcast, because she struggles with anxiety.  No one is able to help her, so she withdraws herself and does not share how she feels with others.  But when she works at an internship with the castle, she learns from the King what she is missing, and she uses what she learns to do some pretty great things.

Being a writer is taking a long journey.  I’m not a book factory.  I’m a book creator,  and creativity takes time.  I’m thankful that after three years of stumbling through writing a book, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash


Just Courage: From Safe to Brave

The office where I work has a collection of books that the senior staff believed will help encourage us and strengthen us in our jobs.  I was interested to find a book by Gary Haugen, the founder of International Justice Mission, among the pile.  One of my friends works for IJM, so I was excited to read about the beginnings of this organization.  I also wanted to see what the work of IJM had to do with the work that I do in my church office.

The book is short, so it honestly is a nice pick-me-up, but if you really let the words settle into your soul, it will rock your world.  Haugen talks about his journey founding IJM, as well as the stories of some of his associates who have changed the world in big, brave ways.  At first, I thought this book would just be filled with success stories and a shout-out to the great staff at IJM.  But it also includes a challenge, a challenge to give up our safe and take on our brave.

Haugen uses the analogy of the cul-de-sac to describe how Christianity is today.  Most people feel that keeping their houses in a cul-de-sac area is safer because it is only one-way traffic.  However, studies have shown that more accidents occur in these areas than in other areas.  Therefore, we were wrong about what would be best for our children and families.

He expands on this idea of a cul-de-sac by saying that we tend to play safe in church.  We like our comfortable house, our kids, our pets, our finances, and we don’t really see life beyond that.  We get dissatisfied.  And the reason we get dissatisfied is because God has a bigger life for us.  He doesn’t want us to be safe; He wants us to be brave.  He wants us to trust Him.

I appreciate the work of IJM and the faith of Gary Haugen to start this organization.  I will admit that it is not a long book, so there is not much more to discuss.  But a powerful sentence can change the course of your day, even the course of your life.  Gary Haugen’s book Just Courage, although it is short, packs a punch that gets you thinking.  If you let it, this short book could change the course of your life.

In terms of how it relates to my job at the church, and my job as a writer, it reminds me that an act of courage can truly impact the world.  The courage that will truly change the world for good, though, is the courage that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as Savior.  I personally tend to be a fearful person, who even gets nervous going to work on occasion, but when I trust in the strength that God gives me, I am able to drive through traffic, make it to work, talk to people on the phone, interact with my co-workers, and handle all the tasks before me.  In my blog post next week, I’m going to share about what courage looks like.