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4 Books on My I-Can’t-Wait-To-Read Radar

4 Books on my Radar

I have a heightened sense of appreciation for brave souls who traipse through the what-if, who-me, and can-I-do-this type questions for the sole purpose of helping another through their story. Like, helping wives who desire to fully embrace their God-given role or mother of brides-to-be who long to cling to God while their daughters are preparing to cling to another. Or, perhaps those in uneasy in-between places who need to re-embrace God’s faithfulness or writers desiring to become super-productive.

Two of the four I-can’t-wait-to-read books are recent releases. And two are now available for pre-order. There’s something for those who enjoy the anticipation of a good read as well as those who prefer immediate gratification.

 

Four Books on My I-Can’t-Wait-To-Read Radar

 

Kaitlyn E. Bouchillon // Even if Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the In Between

Even if NotI’ve recently had the pleasure of getting to know Kaitlyn as a fellow Hope Writer. She is a young woman brimming with sage advice.

Why I can’t wait to read this book: Kaitlyn is the real deal and frankly, the book description hooked me from the get-go: “In Even If Not, Kaitlyn Bouchillon invites you to let go of trying to figure out the ending of your story and instead lean into the faithfulness of God. With honest and vulnerable storytelling from her own in-betweens, Kaitlyn encourages you to say – no matter what page of the story you find yourself on – that although you believe God could come through how you’re asking, you’ll trust Him… even if not.”

 

C. S. Lakin // Crank it Out! The Surefire Way to Become a Super-Productive Writer

Crank it outCrank it Out! finds itself on my list for both noble and selfish reasons. {Don’t judge} Noble, because I’ve read her work in Writer’s Digest as well as a poetry forum and love it. Selfish, because after working on my e-book {more info coming soon!} Brian said we would need to hire a housekeeper if I wrote another one. Turns out, I actually plan to write several more so it’s a must that I become more super productive. #bringonthehousekeeper

Why I can’t wait to read this book: I savor C. S. Lakin’s voice. It’s unique, succinct, and I’ve yet to read anything she’s written without learning something valuable for my own writing journey. And, I obviously need to crank out future books in a more timely and orderly way. Oh, and did I mention it’s only $.99 on Kindle?

 

Leigh Ann Thomas // Ribbons, Lace, and Moments of Grace…Inspiration for Mothers-of-the-Bride

Ribbons, Lace, and Moments of GraceRibbons, Lace, and Moments of Grace will release on March 28th but you can pre-order now.

Why I can’t wait to read this book: I had the pleasure of getting to know Leigh Ann a little better last year at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She is lovely and oh so gracious. As a fellow contributor to Almost an Author, I can attest to the fact that she’s quite the cheerleader as well. I’m not Leigh Ann’s target reader for this book as I was a mother-of-the-groom⎯twice. But her Barnabas-like way of encouraging others makes this book a must-read for all mother-of-the-brides.

 

Jen Weaver // A Wife’s Secret to Happiness: Receiving, Honoring, and Celebrating
God’s Role for You in Your Marriage

A Wife's Secret of HappinessOnce again, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference played matchmaker. Dee Dee Parker and I had the pleasure of meeting Jen back when she was expecting her sweet boy. We had no doubt that God had major plans for her writing.

Why I can’t wait to read this book: Jen is spunky, engaging, and approachable⎯as is her writing. And regardless of how many anniversaries I’ve celebrated with Brian {27 this October!} I want my role as his wife to be one that brings God glory.

Here’s a quick blurb on Jen’s book by Latan Murphy.

 

Do you have a favorite book your reading radar? Or is their one above that sparks your interest? Please take a moment to share in the comment section. I always enjoy hearing from you!

 

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Where to Write? 20 Inspiring + Unique Settings to Try in 2017

Writing OutsideIf you’re searching for creative and unique settings to create {whether that’s writing, painting, drawing, etc.} this year, I hope you’ll find the following suggestions helpful. At the very least, perhaps one or two will jumpstart another idea!

A well-loved writing spot is nice but there’s something to be said for venturing out to discover fresh and inspiring places to write. Not only does it awaken the senses, it also infuses the mind with new plots twists and settings for our stories, poetry, and the like. So pack your common sense {necessary for some of the locations}, laptop and/or writing pad/pen, healthy snacks, water, and a fold-up chair. I’d also suggest you pack your camera if you want to use something other than your phone for taking pictures. Being able to recall the specifics of a certain locale may come in handy in the future.

15 Inspiring + Unique Settings:

Taking Notes Outside

  • A construction site (in this case you may want to also pack a hard hat and ear plugs). Watching a building take shape over a period of time can inspire one to imagine their own story being built from the ground up. Or maybe the process could be used in a plot twist!
  • A vacant old house or home place where only the chimney still stands. Oh, the stories an old home place can tell if we’re only willing to be quiet and listen.
  • A local walking bridge. Try to enjoy this when the foot traffic isn’t busy.
  • Beside a local river. Pack a lunch and a blanket. Find joy in the small wonders surrounding you.
  • In the mall. Searching for fresh dialogue? Park yourself on a bench with a cup of coffee {a necessity for proper snooping} and take a listen. Or watch body language. It’s all there.
  • In your local airport. Either go inside or park where you can watch the planes land. Imagine the destination of the planes taking off. Enjoy the faces of those seeing loved ones for the first time in awhile.
  • On a dock overlooking a quiet lake.
  • Hop on a local bus and make a round trip around town.
  • Find a beautiful local garden and ask permission to write there for awhile.
  • Your local cemetery. {This isn’t as creepy as it sounds.} Much can be learned from a walk through an eternal resting spot.
  • Go to your local library. 
  • Forget the cafe — go to your favorite restaurant. Sit in the corner, order your favorite meal {or dessert}, and savor the moment, with pen in hand, of course.
  • A room or area in your home where you’ve never written before. Maybe it’s the kitchen, back porch, front porch, bedroom, etc. Or if you’re a young mom, the bathroom may be your only escape. Indulge yourself with a bubble bath while you allow ideas to soak in. {Sorry, pun intended}
  • Tour a local museum. Drink it in. Find a shady tree not far away, sit or park your vehicle and write down every detail you remember.
  • An empty high school stadium. {But a visible spot.}
Five Bonus Settings:
  • A zoo. Take a stroll through the animal park observing minute details. Who wouldn’t be awe-inspired by God’s creative design? This would be another good opportunity for lunch with a pen and paper.
  • An observatory. If you don’t have one where you live, simply step outside at night. Take notes on your phone or if it’s warm outside write beside a patio lamp. If it’s cold and you’re a brave soul, write by a campfire.
  • A rooftop terrace. Many cities have restaurants that offer rooftop dining. If it’s a pricey place, simply order dessert. Savor it…and the view.
  • A friend’s house. And if your friend happens to have a beautiful view or a lush garden, even better! You could trade places for the day or simply ask to write when they’re out and about for a few hours. After all, what are friends for?
  • Dare I say, an overnight stay? It doesn’t have to be far away but it’s surprising how a change of scenery can up our creative ante.

Elizabeth S. CraigI’m excited to share that the original post for the above 15 ideas was recently listed in Elizabeth S. Craigs’ “Top Tweets in 2016”. You will want to bookmark her post and revisit it many times over. It’s chock-full of the most popular tweets/links!

So now it’s your turn. Is there a particular setting listed above that strikes your fancy? Is there another setting you would like to add to the list? Please share!

 

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When God Double-Dog Dares You

by Cathy Baker

“And by the way, everything in life is writeable about
if you have the outgoing guts to do it
and the imagination to improvise.The worst enemy to
creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath

“Travel writing sounds awesome.” It wasn’t the answer I expected.

If you know me, you know that travel has been problematic ever since a car accident back in 1984. Back roads are doable, to a point. Highways, um, no.

Graphic courtesy of Sound Valley

So, when given the opportunity to pitch three ideas for a monthly column over at A-3 no one was more surprised than me to find that I’d scribbled the words travel writing on my page of possibilities. Surely it was a momentary lapse in judgment!

Instead of pitching three ideas, I decided to agree on the one subject the editor wanted and needed at the time—grammar. I had the email ready to go. Problem was, my finger refused to hit the send button. In doing so, I felt I’d be settling for the known, and not trusting God with the unknown. 

Rather than hitting the send key, the one ripe with guaranteed success, the delete key was struck instead. I started a new email and this time, travel writing was included as one of the three pitches. I glanced heavenward with a smile, feeling almost like a kid that had been double-dog dared. With one tap, the email was sent and all I could do was wait. 

I found myself delighting in God’s sense of humor. Travel writing, really? I had nothing to offer on the subject 
except my own reluctance. 

In the hours that passed between the pitch and the response, I was reminded of Buttercup. Remember her? She’s the 1963 Shasta Airflyte my hubby bought me for our 25th Anniversary coming up in October. I purchased a domain name for her the day we were introduced, confident that God was up to something with me and the subject of travel. (We look forward to our maiden voyage very soon.)

As I anxiously awaited the editor’s response, I continued praying that God would guide him to make the right decision for me. Because I prayed this believing He would, I rest in the fact that He did just that—despite the self-doubt and relentless accusations within. For example, How can you, oh reluctant traveler (except for the mountains) be a travel writer? 

I don’t know what God is stirring up but I know I’m not afraid to research, work hard, and pray for a mile-long dose of creativity to throw in the mix. So there, Satan! Get behind me. 

Join me over at A-3 this Friday, July 24th for my first posting! It is sure to be an exciting adventure.


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