Back in the South Again

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve likely seen that my family and I recently made a big move. We packed up and left the summer furnace of Texas for the rolling warm hills of Nashville, Tennessee.

And my Southern-loving heart couldn’t be happier.

While a new job opportunity for me sparked the move, there is so much to be thankful for being back in the Southeast. Here are my top five reasons this relocation has me feeling all the feels…

  1. We’re closer to my family than we’ve been in 20 years. Ever since I left for college back in 1999 (gasp!), I’ve not lived closer than 8.5 hours to my parents. Now, they are a short and easy 2-hour drive straight down I-65! What’s better? My sister and nephew are not much farther, too! So long to the days of planning flights months in advance, boarding the dog, and TSA security lines just to hug their necks. We’ve already seen my folks several times and my mom is even here this week helping take our daughter to VBS while we work.
  2. I can now commune with my muse. (Wow, what a cheesy line. Sorry. LOL) My author tag line is “Charming Southern romance inspired by grace.” While many consider Texas to be a Southern state, it’s got nothing on the charm and small town culture of this region. Now, my office building is on historic Music Row near downtown Nashville, so I’m not claiming to be front porch rockin’ all day long. But the surrounding rolling hills, blue grass music, down home meat-and-three meals, and friendly hat-tipping are what the stories in my heart are made of. Can’t wait to see how this place inspires me to get back to regular writing.

    IMG_8040The gorgeous (and green) view from our new porch!

  3. The food scene is insane. Now, to be fair, we had zero complaints about the food in Fort Worth. No arguments from us that Texas knows how to do BBQ, Tex-Mex, and margaritas. But, Texas ain’t got nothing on Tennesee fried chicken, Southern sides, cobbler, and sweet tea. We lunched at the famous Puckett’s Grocery in downtown Franklin after church this past Sunday and might end up regulars. Don’t take my word for it, let the picture of my lunch prove it.

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    To top it off, you’re hard pressed to find an eating establishment in the area that doesn’t offer sensational live music. I mean, it’s “Music City” for a reason and everyone is good.

  4. We are within driving distance, once again, to some of our favorite places. When we lived in North Carolina, we were used to being able to drive a few hours and be in numerous different states, destinations, landscapes, etc. Then we moved to Texas and felt a tad land-locked. There were a lot of great places to see in Texas, but we love the ability to get in the car and take a day trip to some of our favorite places: Atlanta for a Brave’s game, Gatlinburg for fall festivities, Chattanooga for family fun, and just about any direction for some of the best outdoor exploring through hiking trails, waterfalls, scenic views, and more. We can’t wait to get out there again!
  5. The charming, small town culture warms my heart. Really similar to number two, this final reason to celebrate our new home really hones in on the sort of family experience I love. We’re settling in Franklin, a quaint but fast-growing town about 25 minutes outside of Nashville.

    Downtown Franklin Main Street_0Photo courtesy of tnvacation.com

    You may have heard of it as a top choice for celebrities looking for some anonymity to raise their families without being hounded by paparazzi. (I’m keeping my eyes peeled for Natalie Grant, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, or maybe Carrie Underwood and will report any sightings!) But, there’s a lot about Franklin I’ve wanted for my family for a long time…things like a mix of country/city, lots of festivals, steeped in American history, Saturday markets where folks stroll and engage in friendly catching up. I know Franklin doesn’t have the market on this sort of place — maybe your town is the same! But the DFW area of Texas was more metropolitan than I care for, and I’m excited to enjoy this new pace of life.

While I’ve got your attention, be sure to pop over to Faithfully Bookish where Beth is talking to one of my favorite authors, Courtney Walsh about her favorite book cover fonts. So excited and honored that Someplace Familiar made Courtney’s list! There’s some great other covers as well as a giveaway of Courtney’s latest release, Just Let Go.

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99 Cent Sale – Through May 31!

Get Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger for ONLY $0.99 this month!

Just breezing through super fast (what a crazy busy week as we prepare to move across the country to Tennessee in just over a week!) to give an announcement you won’t want to miss!

What better way to celebrate a BOOK BIRTHDAY than to have a SALE?!

Read Someplace Familiar on your favorite e-reader this summer for only $0.99*! The sale ends when the birthday does, after May 31.

Get Your Copy Here!

*US only; also discounted in other countries, but prices will vary slightly.

Embracing Freedom (Not Guilt) When Taking Control and Doing Things Your Way

Embracing Freedom (Not Guilt) When Taking Control & Doing Things Your Way

When I blogged earlier this week, it was for the first time in months. If you’ve been a long-time follower, you know that there have been other seasons when I’ve backed away for various reasons. Life happens, people. I have learned a great deal about myself through the process of blogging, writing at my own pace, seeking traditional publication, and ultimately choosing to independently publish my book.

In many ways, I’ve gone against the flow of some of my peers enough now that I’ve learned to let go of the guilt and insecurities and instead embrace the freedom that comes with realizing I’m in charge of my own life.

Now, before I go on, let me be clear. I am in NO WAY saying that those who find themselves on the more well-paved path of any journey in life are going about it the wrong way and giving up control. In fact, just the opposite. Whatever you do, whichever road you take — be it paved in gorgeous cobblestones or totally uncharted — you’re the driver. Own it.

Some things I’ve learned about myself through the last year of navigating my path I’ve actually known deep down for a long time. I just never wanted to admit it. Because in my head, what are actually truths about me were being filtered through some crazy cultural (maybe emotional, too) machine that spewed out a distorted lie. Here are a few examples of lies I grew to believe and the truths I’ve had to rediscover.

LIE: I am lazy.
TRUTH: I have high standards and feel paralyzed when I feel overwhelmed.

LIE: If I can’t produce (book writing) on a regular schedule, I am a failure.
TRUTH: My value is in Christ and not in my accomplishments.

LIE: I am too emotional and irrational.
TRUTH: God made me a highly sensitive person and He has plans to use it for good.

I like those truths much better. They give me life instead of stealing my joy. Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that not working at the same energetic pace as my husband, for instance, who can get more done in the blink of an eye than I can in a whole weekend, made me less-than. I convinced myself that being emotional most of the time equated to weaker.

Kill the Spider by Carol WhittakerA while back, I read Kill the Spider by Carlos Whittaker. In this straightforward personal account of battling demons, Carlos shares the brilliant concept that we’ve got to stop simply sweeping away the cobwebs and finally find and kill the spider producing them. (I admit to feeling gobsmacked by such a simple yet profound analogy!) I’ve realized that I’ve been feverishly sweeping away the cobwebs made up of lies like the ones listed above. But where was the spider spinning the webs? What does it look like and where does it hide?

For me, the spider is false identity. I’ve been putting my identity in things other than the Truth:

  • Teresa the Overweight
  • Teresa the Emotional Basketcase
  • Teresa the Lazy
  • Teresa the Overwhelmed
  • Teresa the Less-Than
  • Teresa the Out-of-Control
  • Teresa the Quick-to-Frustrate

There are so many to name that the resulting cobwebs became too thick to sweep away. And, so, my true identity became hidden behind a thick, sticky mass of cobwebs.

I lost sight of my one true identity:

  • Child of God, which makes me the Princess of the King of Glory!

Wow. Sounds like a WAY BETTER perspective to live by. It is the ONLY identity that matters. It is the true identity that informs all other parts of me. And living into THIS identity leaves me no choice but to cast off the lies and take joy in being in control of who God made me to be.

There is FREEDOM, friends, in doing things the way that feels right for you. I needed to take time off from writing until God placed back upon me the desire to create again based on His prompting. It may take me another three years to write a book, like it did the first time around. And if it does, that’s OK. I’ve got a lot of life going on in the background that’s just as important.

The “Places” in Someplace Familiar

We’re a few days in to the month of Someplace Familiar‘s FIRST BOOK BIRTHDAY! It’s fun to sit and remember the story that became so dear to me over the years of writing, editing, and promoting. I thought it would be fun to take a few minutes to remember one of my favorite places in the book: The Laurel Cove Inn. (Promise, no spoilers!)

The inn is Livy’s first stop once she pulls into the quaint mountain town of Laurel Cove, NC. Sitting in her car fresh on the interstate, she gives us a sneak peek at what she sees.

Livy, the heroine from the southern romance novel Someplace Familiar, details her first glimpse of the quaint Laurel Cove Inn.

Interesting behind-the-book detail: the Laurel Cove Inn is based on a REAL PLACE! Laurel Cove is inspired by the hometown of my best friend from college, Burnsville, NC. The Nu-Wray Inn sits on the square of Burnsville and directly inspired the inn in the book. While I’ve not been to the Nu-Wray in over 15 years, its charm and beauty have stuck with me all this time. Here’s a picture of the actual Nu-Wray Inn…

The Nu-Wray Inn in Burnsville, NC inspired the Laurel Cove Inn in the novel, Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger

Isn’t it gorgeous? That white siding! The brick columns! The “dainty” iron stoop on the second floor window! Be still my country-loving heart.

If you’ve read Someplace Familiar, what is your favorite part of the inn? Which scene that takes place at the inn is your favorite? I’d love to know!

I’ve also had some readers ask if the Laurel Cove Inn’s beloved innkeeper, Aunt Bea, will show up in any future stories. She made her way to the top of the list of many readers’ favorite secondary characters (and mine, too!). I have no doubt you’ll be seeing more of Aunt Bea one day. Wink, wink.

Stay tuned for more fun memories, favorite reviews, behind-the-book exclusives, and maybe even some fun giveaways throughout this birthday month.

Not yet read Someplace Familiar?
Get your copy HERE today!

Someplace Familiar Is Turning One!

I can’t believe by debut novel Someplace Familiar turns one this month! Throughout the next few weeks, I’ll be celebrating by sharing some favorite quotes, reviews, posts, insider scoops, and maybe some fun birthday treats along the way.

To get the festivities kicked off, here is one of my favorite quotes from Someplace Familiar.

Someplace Familiar is Celebrating it's BOOK BIRTHDAY!

And, if you’ve not yet ad it, I invite you to grab your copy HERE today!

Now for a little life update: it’s crazy! We’re preparing for a big family move from Texas to NASHVILLE, TN! I could not be more excited. I’ll be starting a new job with the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, handling their communications and marketing efforts. We absolutely love that area, the people, the landscape, the food, the music! I can’t wait to share more about that with  you once we get settled.

Someplace Familiar is Going On Tour!

Someplace Familiar by Teresa Tysinger on Tour with Celebrate Lit! March 1-14

Someplace Familiar is going on tour…a book tour, that is, with Celebrate Lit! From March 1-14, you are invited to stop by and chat about the Jack, Livy, Laurel Cove, and more with other readers and bloggers. I’ll be popping in and out to answer questions and chat with readers, too. Throughout the tour, I’ll be sharing a bit more here on the blog about my process, inspiration, how it feels to have a book out for a while, what’s coming up, and more. What would YOU like to ask me about the book (or anything else for that matter)?

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On Choosing Truth

On Choosing Truth | TeresaTysinger.com

I’ve been seeing a wonderful, divinely-matched-with-me therapist for several months now. She has helped me work through a lot of baggage that I didn’t even realize I’d been carrying. Generally speaking, she approaches our time together with kindness, compassion, and patience. She gently guides me to discover things on my own. Except for those times I’m just not getting it. In these instances, she hurdles truth bombs at me with the grace and strength of an Olympic shot-putter. A smirk and crooked eyebrow raised heavenward follow her overhanded delivery of truth and I know it’s time to stop talking and listen.

Have you ever realized how stubborn we humans are? Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, we are told things just to turn around and test the truth for ourselves. “You say I can’t have this fruit? Nah, it’ll be fine.” We grow into taller, more educated toddlers who need daily reminders of basic truths. God loves us fiercely (John 3:16). With Christ on our side we can do really hard things (Philippians 4:13). All of our mistakes and sins can be completely forgiven (1 John 1:9). We are never too far away that God can’t reach us (John 10:27-28, Joshua 1:9, Matthew 28:20). At our lowest moments, God not only is with us but God can take even our hardest, most awful emotions (Romans 8:26).

But something else has dawned on me recently. God’s steady, constant voice is often a whisper, even when he wants to get our attention.

Then He said [to Elijah], “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.”And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lordbut the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

But, the voice of the Enemy is different — persistent, incessant, annoying, hard to ignore. And one of the hardest things about being given free will is that we must CHOOSE to listen for God’s whispers over the noise of lies.

"We must choose to listen for God's whispers over the noise of the Enemy's lies." | Quotes from TeresaTysinger.com

This quote from Jess Connolly stopped me in my tracks last week. “Don’t play telephone with the Enemy’s lies.” I sat with the following words in her Instagram post and let it sink in…

"Don't play telephone with the Enemy's lies." - Jess Connolly

You know when you hear that horrible thought? The one that’s so obviously a lie from the actual enemy of your soul? Maybe it comes via a thought, a spoken word from another human, or maybe even your own mouth. But as soon as you hear it: you know – this is some CRAZY STUFF that should not be repeated.
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But you know what I find myself doing? Repeating it. Telling someone else what I heard, processing how it made me feel, journaling about how real the lie seems even though I KNOW it’s not true. I was doing this just last night during worship, playing the refrain of a lie that I knew to be a lie – but still thinking on how painful it was, rather than thinking about how good my God is. I wanted to say the lie out loud, I wanted someone else to hear how bad it hurt – but I already knew THE TRUTH. And Holy Spirit said: You don’t have to play telephone with the enemy’s lies. You don’t have to pass that message around. You KNOW it’s some crazy trash, so why don’t you just stop thinking about it and replace it with some truth.
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We’re not always going to be able to tell truth from lies on our own, sometimes it takes the Word of God or a friend getting in our face and reminding us of the truth – but let’s stop playing telephone with the lies that we KNOW are lies. They just get murkier and more busted as we pass them on, replay them AND as we relay them. If it doesn’t line up with what God has written over you: stop repeating it. If it goes against the knowledge of a good and gracious Father who made you in His image: you can keep talking about how it makes you feel or you can just replace it with some TRUTH. The telephone game never did anybody any good and at some point if we want to live in the light, we’re going to have to put true words in our mouth and have our minds stayed on Him. Amen?

I’m tempted to outline my list of lies for you, but they DO NOT BEAR REPEATING. That gives them fuel for constructing walls high around and within my heart. But, no, that’s a place where God dwells. A place He keeps wide open and swept clean. I’m currently working on handwriting the Truths of God’s Word that whisper of my priceless worth like the lullaby of a mama rocking her treasure to sleep.

Only your whispers, God.

On Being Brave

On Being Brave | Teresa Tysinger, Creative & Encourager

Do you ever see or hear something repeatedly, enough times that you start to wonder if God’s trying to tell you something? It’s been like that this week for me. In fact, it’s like He’s standing on the side of the road wearing one of those bright orange construction vests lined with reflector material while holding a neon sign and screaming through a bull-horn. The message?

BE BRAVE.

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A Long Time Coming

Today’s post has been a long time coming. I’ve been looking the other way trying to push aside gut feelings and ignore what’s been brewing for months. Something’s got to change. And I’m not talking about a site redesign like I mentioned a while back, though I thought maybe that would help. I’m talking about a seismic shift. One that will reorient my heart away from things I’ve let overtake me and back toward my One True North, God.

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