JULY 2019 UPDATE

Happy last day of July, friends!

Am I the only one that cannot believe tomorrow is August? I’m not sure which one floors me more: the fact that we’re 8/12 months into the year, or that we only have two-and-a-half months until our little miracle babe is due to make her arrival.

I’m going to go with the second one.

I haven’t done an adequate job with updates this year because, as I’ll touch on below, I’ve been utterly exhausted. I’m playing catch-up with this blog post to give you all the updates: family, home, writing, and everything in-between!

Update #1: Let’s start with a writing update! Things have obviously slowed down since finding out we were expecting earlier this year. I haven’t been sending as many e-mails, my blog needs dusting - even my social media posts have become fewer and fewer. Any free time I have to write almost always goes into my second book, which is coming along, slowly but surely. My goal is to have it released before baby #2 makes her appearance, ‘cause we all know how much time I’ll have when she’s here. :)

Update #2: Speaking of books…that surprise I’ve been hinting at about “One Step Forward”? All of the preparations for said surprise are complete! I’m just waiting for a little somethin’ somethin’ to arrive in the mail before I can announce. Stay tuned!




Update #3: Moving on to…baby! I’m currently 29-weeks pregnant and feeling T.I.R.E.D. Taking care of a high-risk pregnancy, a forever-moving three-year-old, writing a book, renovating…I’d be lying if I said I haven’t fallen asleep in very odd places lately. :) Every symptom is 100% worth it and cherished, even if I burnt dinner a couple days ago because I fell asleep when I sat on the kitchen floor…

Update #4: HOME. You only have to take a glance at my Instagram to know that we’re knee-deep in renovating a 119-year-old farmhouse. We’ve mainly been working on the playroom (see my IG highlights labeled “playroom” to see our progress) and we are so.so.very.close to being finished with it! See below for a little before and after.

BEFORE




CURRENTLY



We’re hoping we can pound out what’s left soon so we can paint Lilli’s bedroom before her sister gets here!


That’s about all the updates I have right now! As I said up above, I haven’t written many blog posts, but here’s a list of the ones I have published recently in case you missed them:








See you all in August!

SEVEN BIBLE STUDY TIPS FOR BUSY BODIES

Hey there! Just so you know, this post contains affiliate links, which allow me to support my website and writing career. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again soon!

Tell me if you can relate:

I'm a born busy-bee. I have a constant need to feel productive. I relate a little too much to the phrase "work-a-holic". I admire to-do lists. Sometimes I struggle being a stay-at-home mom because, at times, it makes me feel unproductive - and dare I say it, at times, bored. I enjoy doing and creating and moving. My brain does not shut off easily.

Sound familiar?

If you're anything like me, then you may know the struggle to sit down and read your Bible and/or do your devotions. It's not because you don't want to, but it's truly difficult to focus your mind, sit still, and rest. Even more so if you have littles around and your free time is rare.

As Christians, we're called to set aside time for our Father (Matthew 6:33). We know we need to. We know the benefit we receive when we rest in Jesus. We know that our time with God takes top priority.

So how do we do it?

My life is busy, even if I wasn't the kind of person who enjoyed being busy. I've had to get creative to get my time in with Jesus and let me tell you, every little bit counts.

Today I'm sharing my top tips for diving into God's word when you struggle to actually dive into God's word.



1.) Find a Bible study that involves note-taking, journaling, and/or answering questions.

One of the number one ways I focus my mind on my Bible study is to find a Bible study that hones my mind by way of writing. I really enjoy studies from The Daily Grace Co., and they hold frequent sales that allow me to stock up. I've also done "Open Your Bible" and "Apples of Gold" that really invoked thought and allowed me to journal those thoughts.

2.) Get a prayer journal.

I can very rarely pray in my head for an extended amount of time and not have my thoughts stray. I've found that I do my very best praying when I'm writing it down because my mind is solely focused on my prayers. Most of the time, I just use a lined notebook like THIS one, but if you're looking for a journal targeted specifically for praying, THIS one and THIS one are both great options!

        


3.) Write out each line of scripture.

This is something I also use my journals for. Any time I'm doing a devotional and a line of scripture is emphasized, I write it down. This helps me focus during my study and it also aids in scripture meditation and memorization.

4.) Use a journaling Bible.

I didn't start out with a journaling Bible, but I'm so glad I invested in one. The wide margins give me space to write out my thoughts, take notes, and even draw. My specific Bible is from In His Name Co., but THIS one and THIS one have the same effect!



5.) Make a list of goals.

I mentioned up above how much I love to-do lists. While I don't want you to view this tip as me suggesting that time with God is just another thing to check off your list, I do want you to have the most effective use of your time with Him, and you can do that by making a list of goals you want to accomplish that day, week, month, etc. Use your journal to write out goals such as: "Read all of Psalms", "Learn How to Study Scripture", "Journal Ten Lines of Scripture", etc.

6.) Listen to worship music while journaling or coloring.

My daughter asked me the other day why I sing when we're listening to "Jesus music". I told her it's because I feel close to Him while I sing. Even if you didn't crack open your Bible, you can still connect with God in other ways. I really love to turn on some "Jesus music", grab some colored pencils, and open a faith-inspired adult coloring book like THIS one and THIS one. It's something I do frequently while my daughter is coloring and allows me to get some extra God-time in.

        

7.) Do a devotion with a friend or with a group.

Some of my favorite devotional times have been while studying the Bible with a friend. I love gaining perspective from another's point-of-view, and it's also a way of keeping accountable. I've studied with both a singular friend and with a group, and I recommend both! 

What are some ways that you study the Bible intentionally? I'd love to hear your tips in the comments!

Ps...have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Not only will you get the first two chapters of "One Step Forward", but you'll also gain inside access to subscriber-only giveaways, book-related news, and writer tips! Sign up HERE.


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"ONE STEP FORWARD" IN SIX PHOTOS

I've been hinting on social media lately that I'm doing something to celebrate the one year anniversary of "One Step Forward". While I'm not ready to share that news yet (almost!), I am sharing something else fun today!

Have you ever heard of a "book aesthetic"? I hadn't until I published a book and connected with other authors. Basically, a book aesthetic is a series of photos that depicts what the book is about, gives off the book's vibe, etc. I've posted the synopsis of "One Step Forward" on my blog, but for those of you that prefer visual adaptations, this one is for you!


"One Step Forward" in six photos



What do you think? Does it make you want to dive into my book? If so, you can check it out HERE!

    



Ps...have you signed up for my newsletter yet? Not only will you get the first two chapters of "One Step Forward", but you'll also gain inside access to subscriber-only giveaways, book-related news, and writer tips! Sign up HERE.

[ ** all rights were received for use of these photos. ** ]

A WRITING PLAYLIST THAT GETS ME IN THE WRITING MOOD

Hey, friends! I'm back to the blog after having to pause for a couple months. If you follow me on social media, then you know I'm currently expecting our rainbow baby, another little girl! Although this pregnancy has been the complete opposite from Lilli's, it's still been rather difficult, especially with nausea and exhaustion. I'll take everything this pregnancy swings at me after how long we prayed for this babe, but it definitely has me choosing resting over working more often than anticipated.

But right now, I'm taking a break from editing my second book to bring you a rare blog post! If you've ever seen me behind my computer, then you know 99% of the time, I have a pair of headphones in while I work. Most of the time, I need some sort of background noise to pair with my work, and often it's music. I may or may not have close to 500 songs on my writing playlist (okay, you caught me. I do.). Today, I'm sharing a few with you so you can add them to your own, specifically ones that get me pumped up to write!


1) Rich Love by OneRepublic

2) Youngblood by 5 Seconds of Summer

3) Side Effects by The Chainsmokers

4) Tie Me Down by Gryffin

5) Brighter Days by Sigala

6) One Foot by Walk The Moon

7) Nevermind by Dennis Lloyd

8) The Heat by The Score

9) Heartbeat by The Fray

10) Faith by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande (yep, this is one of the songs from the movie "Sing" and I'm obsessed with it. 😍)


What are some songs are your favorite playlists?? I'd love to add some more to my playlist!


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