Fall and Other Highly Anticipated Things

fall

Hi, friends. How has September treated you? I’m just starting to come out of whatever funk I’ve been in. As I shared before, I’ve just been sitting in God’s presence waiting and trying to listen. I’ve anticipated the small, still voice — though I would have rather heard a loud, clear command so to avoid any confusion about his plan for me. I’m feeling the urge to write creep back in. I’m thinking about a new, maybe more sustainable writing schedule. I’d really appreciate prayers for this.

On to some fun, light-hearted stuff…you know, things friends gab about.  Continue reading

Spending Dirty Money: A Lesson in Usefulness

Spending Dirty Money: A Lesson in Usefulness via https://teresatysinger.com

Last week I lost track of the days and didn’t get September’s newsletter out on time. I’ve also been off-schedule a bit with posting here. I promised last week that I’d get out the September newsletter over the weekend. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll notice that didn’t happen. My heart hasn’t been in it to create. But I’m a writer. Creating with words is what I do. It’s how I contribute — why I’ve carved out this little area of the universe. Continue reading

Help Me Name My Newsletter

So, that ACFW Conference report I promised you? Yeah, that didn’t happen. You may have also noticed that September’s newsletter, which should have gone out yesterday, is MIA. Strike two. Since we’re friends, I’m going to pull the excuse card. I’ve spent my week recovering from a colonoscopy on Tuesday. (How long does anesthesia linger in your system?) Pretty sure that’s a free pass, right?

So, we’re going to multitask, m’kay? This weekend (probably Sunday) I’ll send out September’s newsletter WITH some conference news in it! Two birds, one stone. We’ll just pretend like the crickets on the blog where yesterday’s post should have been are just the late-summer, soothing soundtrack for you to enjoy during your busy week. (See, it’s all about perspective, people.)

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Those who get my newsletter will get the chance to vote on a name for my newsletter. Who doesn’t love to give their opinion on such important decisions?! As much as I love giving updates on my writing journey, book reviews, and such…I’ve felt led lately to use the newsletter for more encouragement. So, in addition to announcements and such, future issues will also offer faith reflections, words of encouragement on our daily walk together, and hopefully support that helps you feel like you’ve got a friend in your corner (me!).

If you’re not already signed up to receive
my monthly newsletter in your inbox…

SIGN UP HERE

Thanks, friends. For understanding when life get’s too crazy to keep up with….for supporting me on my journey…for walking through this life with me.

 

Authors’ Open House: Melissa Tagg

The month-long Author's Open House at https:teresatysinger.com features various Christian authors chatting about books, reading, writing, and more!

As you read this, I’m either on my way to Nashville or already hugging the necks of lots of authors at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference. All but one of our Authors’ Open House visitors (Meghan Gorecki, Jaime Jo Wright, Mikal Dawn, Laurie Tomlinson, and next Tuesday’s guest Pepper Basham) will be there, as will today’s guest Melissa Tagg! The only one I won’t get to see is Rachel McMillan — but there’s always next time!

Author Melissa Tagg visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.com

Today, I’m busting at the seams to welcome Melissa Tagg to the blog. Melissa stole my heart with her novel Like Never Before, which I reviewed not too long ago. She writes with such an effortless style that you forget you’re even reading. Characters who jump off the page and become your own friends. Sweet love stories that make you swoon and tingle all at the same time. To add to that, she’s just abut the sweetest person too. Of course, I’ve read her following post already and she’s blessed me with her wisdom and encouragement. Even if you’re not a writer, I bet you’ll enjoy her words.

Guess I better stop gushing and let Melissa get to it! Help me welcome Melissa by leaving her some love in the comments…


When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

(Thanks soooo much for having me here today, Teresa!!)

I have to start this blog post with a shout-out to the one and only, super awesome, super sweet Beth Vogt. Beth is a fellow contemporary romance writer and I’m crazy blessed to call her friend.

One of the approximately one bazillion things I love about Beth Vogt is a line I’ve heard her say many a time: “God’s best often waits behind the doors marked ‘Never.’”

Ain’t that the truth. Some of my biggest “uh, life really isn’t going according to my plan” experiences have included those very doors.

I never want to give up campus life and study abroad, she says to a professor. (She would be me. I guess we’re going third-person for a couple seconds here.)

I never want to work at a small-town newspaper, she tells her friends.

I never want to leave small-town life for a bigger city, she decides post-college.

Well she had a blast in London, swears newspaper reporting is the best-ever job for a wannabe author, and moved to the big ol’ metropolis of Des Moines eight years ago.

I’m so convinced my “nevers” are triggers for God’s LOLs I’ve taken to saying things like:

I’ll never need endless free time to write and read and watch old movies.

I hope I never marry someone who will be okay with all my quirks—love of flannel and peanut butter and Needtobreathe included.

I never want to time-travel to interesting points in history.

Reverse psychology on God. I’m sure he gets a kick out of that. (I’m particularly hopeful He pays attention to that last one. Hello, Gilded Age!)

All joking aside, every time God has taken one of my “nevers” and turned it into a “been there-done that” situation, I end up awed. Every. Time.

And yet—let me get painfully honest for a minute—I’m a still a little scared of some of my lingering “nevers.” No, not the silly things I listed above. But actual nevers like:

I never want someone to hate my books.

I never want my dreams to let me down.

I never want to feel lost.

I never want to be lonely.

I never want…to fail.

These are nevers that scare me. But they’re also nevers I have a feeling I may face someday. They’re not doors I want to walk through and sometimes it’s hard for me to believe God’ best might actually be waiting for me there.

And yet…hasn’t life taught me over…and over…and over that my plans, most of which include this or that never, tend to be pretty short-sighted compared to God’s?

And hasn’t He proven over and over again, that I can trust Him?

That even if every never I’ve ever dreamed up turns into a reality, He’s on my side.

That even when my dreams turn inside out…or I feel lost or lonely…or I fail big time…He is still good. And faithful. And in fabulously good control.

And isn’t it true that when life doesn’t go according to my plan, it’s probably a good thing? Because my plan A may feel awesome…but God’s plan B is always, always better.


ABOUT MELISSA TAGG

Author Melissa Tagg visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.comAuthor Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant-writer and total Iowa girl. Her latest novel, Like Never Before, was named by Publisher’s Weekly to their spring 2016 “Religion and Spirituality” Top 10 list. Upcoming books include Keep Holding On (Sept 2016) and One Enchanted Christmas (Nov 2016). Melissa has taught at multiple national writing conferences, as well as retreats and workshops. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever–not that she’s biased–watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Melissa loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook and Instagram.


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TODAY’S TWEETABLE:

The #AuthorsOpenHouse welcomes @Melissa_Tagg, sharing
about when #life doesn’t go according to plan. — TWEET THIS!

Authors’ Open House: Laurie Tomlinson

The month-long Author's Open House at https:teresatysinger.com features various Christian authors chatting about books, reading, writing, and more!

Well, here we are again, friends. Are you enjoying the Authors’ Open House so far? Me, too! In case you missed them you can go back and check out posts from Rachel McMillan, Meghan Gorecki, Jaime Jo Wright, and Mikal Dawn (see remaining line-up here). I’m up to my ears in preparing for the ACFW Conference, so I am indebted to these sweet ladies for keeping you all company.

Laurie Tomlinson visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.com.

Today is Laurie Tomlinson‘s turn to make herself at home here. Laurie and I first connected on Facebook then she blessed my socks off when she recognized me at last year’s conference! (Made me feel less invisible!.) Laurie is gifted at telling love stories and supporting other authors. She has selflessly helped me wordsmith and edit and not fall off the author ledge. I’m so excited to read her upcoming novel that’s recently been contracted…big things coming! Be sure and pay attention to what this sweet lady is up to.

Say hello to Laurie…


God Didn’t Design Everyone to Hustle Like Usain Bolt

It’s about this time of year that we celebrate the relief of mid-90-degree days in Oklahoma. We stay inside or hurry from home to car, for within 30 seconds, our skin protests the heat by sticking to leather seats, our hair reaches to the sky in surrender, and some magnet from the sun drains our internal batteries.

It’s now that I can picture my perfect fall day so clearly and succinctly: A trip to the last farmer’s market of the season for butternut squash. Leggings tucked into fuzzy boots. Home filled with the scent of a hearty stew bubbling in the crockpot. A run on my favorite trail with cooler air that’s refreshing to breathe. Hot chocolate in my hand with S’mores by the outdoor fireplace. College football on the TV all day. The hug of fleece pants and a hoodie as we take an evening walk around our neighborhood and say hello to our lovely neighbors who are also coming out of their summer hibernation. Lastly, falling asleep with a book and a warm mug of tea.

With trusted friends, I often let the (mostly kidding) dramatics fly:

FALL, COME QUICKLY! WE NEED YOU!

Yet come fall, I will miss our lazy summer mornings with nowhere to be and slicing through the marine-blue plane of the swimming pool, along with ripe farm veggies and cold nectarines straight from the fridge plus all that the grill has to offer.

(Note: I actually took a break right here to arrange an end-of-summer BBQ. Amen.)

I started this post intending to talk about seasons and how, if you can’t find a way to be happy where you are, then accomplishing your goal, arriving at your destination, and experiencing your dream come true won’t give you true satisfaction. The last thing the internet needs is another pat on the head saying, “Be patient and work hard in this waiting season. Your time will come.”

While I’m a firm believer that waiting produces the most important growth, that’s not what this post is about. I want to speak on not losing ourselves along the way. On not losing ourselves when we get there.

I just signed my first book contract (another point for summer!) and know for sure that this elusive event — while a wonderful, satisfying, pinch-me-is-this-real? thing — won’t solve every problem or answer all of life’s mysteries. Dishes still pile up in the sink, you will still have to change tires on the dusty side of the highway, and you will have to navigate a new season in which your art is no longer solely your own.

That’s the nature of work, though. No matter what section of the path you’re walking (sometimes crawling?), there’s always email or comments to answer, content to read, a conveyor belt of to-do list items to conquer. Publication can feel like a sprint where the only way to stop the road from crumbling beneath you is to gather as much information as your brain can hold and make alllllll the connections until your network sags under all the weight.

Except we’re not Usain Bolt charging for an Olympic finish line and God never intended us to do that to ourselves or the dreams and talent He gave us. 

If we let ourselves rest and really lean into the place God has for us right now, the opportunities will still be there. We won’t miss anything — except for maybe the frayed singe of burnout. We will gain valuable experience in placing satisfaction with our work, not in any outside force, approval, or circumstance, but in the life it brings us and in the communion with God it affords.

Whether you’re beginning your very first story or have spent time on the bestsellers list with your multiple novels, this practice is important for the quality of your work and every aspect of life.

So I’m going to enjoy the last few weeks of slow, golden mornings and catching my kids with ripe blackberry stains on their cheeks. And I’m going to stop trying to mimic the Usain Bolts of this world and go off-route to play in the sprinklers every once in a while.


About Laurie Tomlinson

Laurie Tomlinson visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.com.Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author, freelance editor and PR consultant, and cheerleader for creatives. She believes that God’s love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles.

Her debut contemporary romance novel releases in May 2017 from Harlequin Heartwarming.

You can connect with Laurie on her websiteFacebook page, and Twitter.  She is also a regular contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog.


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TODAY’S TWEETABLE:

#AuthorsOpenHouse welcomes Laurie Tomlinson who shares
about taking time to rest from the hustle. — TWEET THIS!

Authors’ Open House: Mikal Dawn

The month-long Author's Open House at https:teresatysinger.com features various Christian authors chatting about books, reading, writing, and more!

How’s your week going, friend? Mine has been so busy I can’t hardly see straight. This Authors’ Open House has come at the perfect time — all of these sweet women willing to share their thoughts with us and take some pressure off of me to write. God’s so good to provide when we don’t even know that’s what He’s up to.  Continue reading

Authors’ Open House: Jaime Jo Wright

The month-long Author's Open House at https:teresatysinger.com features various Christian authors chatting about books, reading, writing, and more!

Well, here we are, friends, for the third installment of the Authors’ Open House. Last week Rachel McMillan and Meghan Gorecki stopped by. I don’t know about you, but I’m having a blast reading what these ladies have to say. (Get the full line-up here.)

Author Jaime Jo Wright visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.com to talk about perspective as a mom and writer.

Today is no exception. It’s my pleasure to fluff my couch pillows and brew the coffee for Jaime Jo Wright. Jaime hold a special place in my heart as the first author I met in “the wild” at last year’s ACFW conference. We’d connected on Facebook before, but she opened her heart and arms to me in Dallas and encouraged my socks off! Since then I’ve fallen in love with her witty humor and huge heart for supporting others. Now, just a year later, I’m just plain giddy to have the opportunity to be Jaime’s host at the workshop she’ll present at this year’s conference in Nashville next week! Be sure and read all the way through to her bio at the end for some exciting stuff.

Without further ado, help me welcome Jaime to the Authors’ Open House…


I Wasn’t Meant to Be a Mom

I played ping-pong today. A rousing, speedy game that had my head flipping from side to side faster than a bobblehead on a race car’s dashboard.

“MOMMY!” cries the boy.

“MOMMA!” screams the girl.

“WATCH me!” yells the boy.

“Momma LOOK!” hollers the girl.

I swear, if I twisted my head one more turn to look at the other child, my brains would be scrambled—sans drugs.

I have a secret. I wasn’t cut out to be a mom.

I’m a writer, for goodness’ sake. I like to live in my head, but with these two little hooligans hollering at me, it’s like trying to sleep to Metallica. I spent the entire day TRYING to plot a novel and they spent the entire day unraveling each little thread of the book until I am left with … 1 sock, 3 crayons, 2 dirty paper plates, 1 poopie-pant, and … no plot.

I’ll say it again. I wasn’t cut out to be a mom.

When I’m not writing, I have a serious case of wanderlust. I’m already fostering it in my daughter, hoping one day, when she’s done bouncing across the couches, she’ll decide to travel too. Tonight, we decided top of the list is Thailand, Italy, and France, with France being our first choice since I’ve already been to the other two. But for now, I travel zip-zip around the nation and usually leave family in my wake. Nope. Strike that. I don’t. I love them too much. But still. I want to travel SOOOOO BADLY it kills me. My childless years let me check off multiple countries. But now?

Nope. I wasn’t cut out to be a mom.

I love to socialize. People. They’re energizing, they’re exuberating, they’re … not at my house. I married an introvert. I gave birth to an introvert. And my son is practically a hermit without a beard. Yet. I am an extrovert. At home. On Friday evenings. With the kids.

I wasn’t cut out to be a mom.

Being a mom changes everything. It takes away my time, it takes away my freedom, and it takes away my friends. If I choose to look at it that way. But you know what? Tonight I’m sitting on my couch … wait … I’m sprawled on my couch with a smile on my face. That was a rowdy game of mental ping-pong today, and yet I was awarded my win with multiple kisses and hugs. Lankly little arms and legs wrapping themselves around me and giggles in my ear.

I was meant to be a mom.

Today I traveled to the bathroom. Oh, say about 30 times. The laundry room is off of it and I did about 10 loads of laundry. They were exciting trips. I skipped over Matchbox cars, slipped on the elusive other sock, and took a nap in the bathtub. I folded little socks, size 4 Power Ranger underwear, and pink leggings. It was a fine trip, because I saw my family. Seeing family on travels is always a win-win.

I was meant to be a mom.

We had company today too. A four year old, a six year old, and a super goodlooking dude I married. I socialized, I laughed, we played, we bantered, we caught up on the good times … over coffee.

"Life is all about perspective. What you don't have or what you DO HAVE." -- Jaime Jo Wright, Author. Visiting the Author's Open House at https://teresatysinger.com

Yep. I was meant to be a mom.

Life is all about perspective. What you don’t have, or what you do have. And, one thing I know that I do not have? Is absolutely no complaints.

Do you struggle with perspective? As a writer, mother, spouse, employee? I have a feeling we’ve all been there. Share your thoughts with Jaime below. Your comments mean a lot to our guests! 



Author Jaime Jo Wright visits the Authors' Open House at https://teresatysinger.com to talk about perspective as a mom and writer.About Jaime Jo Wright

Professional coffee drinker Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com as well as:

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Read Jaime’s Novellas:
“The Cowgirl’s Lasso” in The Cowboy Bride’s Novella Collection (Amazon)
“Gold Haven Heiress” in California Gold Rush Romance Collection — JUST RELEASED! (Amazon)

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TwitterTODAY’S TWEETABLE:

Authors’ Open House welcomes @JaimeJoWright talking
about #perspective as a mom and writer. — TWEET THIS!