On Losing It

Dear Lucy,

Today is Monday. And not only is it a Monday, it’s also the first Monday of my Christmas vacation, which means you and I are staying home together all day.

All. Day.

On the one hand, I am incredibly thankful for the fact that I can now do this without my anxiety following me around all the time, shouting at me like a toddler amped up on sugar. On the other hand, I’ve got a real-life toddler (that would be you) following me around all the time, shouting like she’s amped up on sugar. (Bananas, not cookies. I tend to forget bananas are like nature’s version of Chip’s Ahoy. Also, you’re obsessed with them.)

My Favorite Moments of 2015

I've always loved the idea of sending out Christmas cards that include family updates from the previous year. I don't know how to do it without feeling like a humble bragger because, seriously, who lists anything but the highlights? Still, I love to receive them so I thought I'd share some of our family's favorite moments from 2015 on the blog today. And what an amazing year it has been!

Thirty Days to Thirty by Courtney Psak: A Review

Happy December! The Christmas season starts pretty early for me because I like to get a jump start on cheesy Hallmark movies and hot chocolate, but now it's finally official and I can celebrate without getting the side-eye from anyone (i.e. my husband).

Today, I'm reviewing Courtney Psak's debut novel Thirty Days to Thirty and I'm excited to share it with you! So let's jump right in and get started.

The Lake House (Or Cabin, Whichever You Prefer)

This past weekend, my small group got together and spent a few days at a house on Lake Oconee. Lindsay's in-law's own the house and they use it as a space for ministry where people can come and stay for a weekend, or a retreat, or just because their small group wants to reconnect. We visited over Labor Day weekend two years ago (when I was hugely pregnant) and it was just as beautiful as I remembered, although getting to see the house and lake during the peak of fall was appreciated. Those leaves! That crisp, cool air! Oh, and let's not forget the s'mores. A must. Also, we might have gone through about twelve gallons of coffee. It's nice to find women who just understand what life is about, you know?

Grace on Repeat

At least once a night, I'll go into Lucy's bedroom and rock her back to sleep.

She has always gone to bed easily (something we do NOT take for granted), but recently Lucy has been struggling. Bedtime has become somewhat of a battle. She'll be two next month and now she's interested in what the grown-ups are doing after her bedtime (which is really none of her business). She'll fuss and cry and make generally unpleasant sounds until one of us comes in to rock her, and it usually takes just a few minutes until she's settled enough to put back in her crib. Usually. But there are some nights when this is not the case. Monday was one of those nights.

Current Reads

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So much cool stuff has been happening over here lately. Pierce and I are leading a group table at our church's Parent Unscripted event this month and last Saturday I officiated my best friend's wedding! (More on that later.) I'm also going to the Taylor Swift concert this weekend with my sister-in-law, so I probably won't be able to speak on Sunday morning. (WORTH IT.)

After the "Yes"

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the night I sat binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix in my pajamas and - right in the middle of Rory and Dean's first date - received the email that changed my life:


Great news! We are all in agreement on the direction of the story. 

The editors conversed and agreed we'd like to move forward with the contract stage of negotiations. You can expect a contract to be forthcoming early next week. 

We look forward to working with you to flesh out Emma, Jesse, and Andy's stories and making a statement to the teen community on the dangers of bullying!  

Thank you so much!

Bookfish Books

Little Snapshots

I love facts. History + genealogy are my jam, as are biographies + documentaries. Which is why I will stalk people (alive and dead) online to find out random tidbits about their lives, such as how many times that author was rejected before he got published or why that girl decided against natural birth. If I watch a movie and turn to IMDB for an answer to "Is that actress really British?" it will inevitably turn into an hour-long research session on her previous roles and her favorite ice cream flavor. People interest me. Quirks are fun. And so are lists of random facts.

It started as a post about my book signing + turned into an ode to Georgia Southern.

Last weekend, my best friend Lauren and I traveled down to our alma mater for a book signing. Needless to say, I was stoked about going back to our old stomping grounds and overjoyed that the University Store director had happily agreed to host me (during one of the busiest weekends of the semester, no less). A few weeks prior to the event, I had sent the university marketing director a flyer for the book signing I assumed would be printed on regular ol' paper and taped to some windows. So when I walked into the bookstore on Saturday morning, and saw this instead:

Well, it's pretty clear that I was happy about it.

Cover Reveal: The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew

Layla’s world tumbles out of control when she discovers the truth of her parentage and realizes the
Prophecy—the one she upended her entire life to defend—is incomplete. When her new friends share
the entire Prophecy, the revelations contained within it alter her destiny and challenge everything she
and Wil believe in. Now, she must confront the Outlander queen to save the Ethereal kingdom while
grappling with this new reality.

Reading is a Right

International Literacy Day was this week, and it's astonishing to realize how many people across the globe are still living without access to education or the tools to communicate effectively. It's heartbreaking, really, because - to me - literacy feels like a human right. Without it, a person has little hope of breaking free of the cycle of poverty. Or of experiencing a future that looks as bright as she deserves.

a day in the life.

Who cares, really?

My life is certainly not more interesting that anyone else's. And, yet, I get lots of questions, mostly from younger readers, asking what it's like to be an author.

The best part of me is you.

"The best thing she was, was her children." - Toni Morrison, Beloved

When Pierce and I got married, seven years ago this November, I searched and searched for something cute to put on the front of our wedding program. Now I should mention that this was a few years before Pinterest, so as much as it pains me to remember some of the details of our wedding that turned out less-than-stellar (*cough that groom's cake cough*) most of it was lovely, if a little imperfect. Our programs were one such detail. 


Thursday was my 30th birthday.

It was the last of the big birthdays. I know every decade after thirty is sort of a milestone in its own right, but most of the significant birthdays come before this one: 1, 13, 16, 18, 21, 25. They all measure some sort of cultural or social achievement: being born, becoming a teenager, driving, voting, drinking, being able to rent a car. And 30 is the age at which one truly reaches adulthood, whether she likes it or not.

Up To I Do: A Review

Happy Friday!

I haven't done a book review in quite some time, but since it's Harry Potter's birthday it feels only right that I should break my streak and share some book love. I'm excited to talk about this particular release because it's the fourth novel from my online literary friend, Samantha March. Samantha is the founder of Chick Lit Plus, a popular book and beauty blog, and the rapidly growing small press, Marching Ink. I've never had the pleasure of meeting Samantha in person, but we've worked together on blog tours and other projects for a few years now and she's pretty awesome at what she does.

Up To I Do: Release Day!

Wednesday is always a good day, right? It's the middle of the week, you're past those Monday blues, and the weekend is on its way. And this Wednesday is particularly awesome for my author friend, Samantha March, because it's release day for her fourth novel, Up To I Do!

Letters to Lucy: The Four Loves

Dear Lucy,

Have I ever told you how I met your dad?

You’re barely two. No, I haven’t. And you definitely don’t care right now. But you might one day and then I’ll be glad to tell you the story. 

This letter also falls into the category of "Things Lucy Doesn't Understand Yet" but while the story of How I Met Your Father will likely only interest you (once you're old enough), I'd be lying if I said I didn't hope this letter would encourage others. Because I do. That's the thing about sharing our experiences, Lucy. It helps to know we aren't alone.

A Week on Oahu

Last week, the day after we returned home from The Walk, Lucy and I packed our bags and joined my mom and sister, Kati, on a flight to Oahu! My older sister, Beth, and her hubby, Sean, moved there in January because he's in the Army and is currently stationed at Scholfield Military Base.

The Walk '15

So, I'm a leader. A co-leader, actually, of a really awesome group of high school students. If you've been reading this blog for any significant length of time, you know that Pierce and I are actively involved with our church - Buckhead Church to be exact, which is one of five Atlanta-area campuses of Northpoint Community (also known as "Andy Stanley's church"). We are both co-leaders with Inside Out, the high school ministry, and I lead a group of about ten sophomore girls. Two weeks ago, we went to Panama City for Inside Out's annual beach trip called The Walk.

My First Book Signing: Charis Books & More

On Saturday, Charis Books & More - an independent feminist bookstore here in Little Five Points - hosted my very first book signing! It was quiet and small, with mostly friends and family, but it was so exciting to be there, selling and autographing copies of The Best Kept Secret.

Letters to Lucy: You Get the Choice

Dear Lucy,

A lot of strange and terrible things have been happening in the world lately. I suppose that’s been the way of the world since it began, what with Adam and Eve choosing to disobey God and everything. I’ve always found that story to be both frightening and hopeful: frightening because it reveals how much power our choices have to influence those around us and hopeful because it reveals how much power our choices have to influence those around us.

The Best Kept Secret Giveaway!

Happy Monday to you! Let's get this week started off right, shall we?

The past six days have been tremendously awesome, and to thank everyone who has read the book, posted a review, or shared it with your friends, I thought I'd host a giveaway for a free autographed copy of The Best Kept Secret!

Freebies, and such.

Hi there!

I hope you had a happy, safe Memorial Day weekend. We watched my little sister graduate high school (*tear*), had a cookout with my in-laws, did some yard/house work, and took Lucy to the zoo again. We also managed a two-hour (!) nap on Saturday, all three of us. At the same time. It was heavenly.

Speaking of heaven.

My debut novel, The Best Kept Secret, is being released next Tuesday! I've waited so long for this day, and now it's almost here. I'm truly astonished at my good luck, having found the best publisher and a fabulous team of people who worked super hard to help make this story what it is.

For those of you who haven't pre-ordered your copy of TBKS yet, I've got a little something to encourage you. And for those of you who have (thanks!) or if you're waiting until June 2nd to snag a print copy, here's something to tide you over:

Starting today, the first chapter of TBKS can be found for free on this little blog.

If you like what you read, follow this link to pre-order. Also, don't forget to add TBKS to your Goodreads and tell your friends about it!

That's all for now. Tuesday can't come fast enough.

Lucy's 1st Trip to Zoo Atlanta

Last weekend, we took Lucy to the zoo for the first time (outside my belly, anyway). We spent the week before telling her, "Lucy, we're going to the zoo!" and asking, "Do you want to go see the lions and the monkeys?" to which she would just stare wide-eyed at us like the crazy new(ish) parents we are. We were just so excited to see what her reactions would be. Turns out, she went a little nuts over the flamingos at the beginning (to which she shouted "Quack, quack!") and basically ignored everything else.

Ode to Spring

It's that time of year again, folks. The time when flowers bloom, the Bravos play at Turner Field, and I get to run around barefoot in the grass with my daughter.

On Graduating

Kati (oft-referred to on this blog as "my little sister") is graduating in a month. And, as a result, I'm having the typical "Am I really this old?" kind of experience. When I graduated high school, Kati was a rising first-grader. A FIRST-GRADER. Someone please explain to me how 2003 was twelve years ago? And don't say "Time!" because time doesn't move that fast. Believe me. Have you ever sat in the middle seat on a 10-hour transatlantic flight? Time moves slowly. It must be some other kind of sorcery. 

For the girls.

This morning, as I drove to work with Lucy sitting in the backseat, Colbie Caillat's song "Try" came on the radio. I remember when the video first came out and everyone was praising Colbie for being "brave" enough to take her makeup off and show what she really looks like. My first thought was "I love Colbie Caillat even more now than I did before!" which was immediately followed by "Brave? This is how we're defining 'brave' now?"

"So...what's your book about?"

You'd think that after many months of getting asked this question I would have a quick answer. I do have what's called my "elevator pitch" but even that doesn't really do the trick. If you haven't noticed, I'm a fan of details. I'm verbose. One-liners are hardly my specialty.

Spring Break

I spent last week in Daytona Beach, Florida with my little sister Kati, three of her closest friends, my mom, and Lucy to celebrate Kati's last spring break. It was wonderful to get a change of scenery and spend the days lounging and working and eating and laughing with some of my favorite people.

A Weekend in DC!

A few weeks ago, my friend Mindy and I flew up to DC to visit our sweet Mary Beth for the weekend. She's in grad school there at Gallaudet and we couldn't wait to tour the place she worked so hard to get into...it was gorgeous! The trip was a complete whirlwind and so much fun. I hadn't been to DC since I went in fifth grade, so it was nice to get up there - even for just two days - to visit with Mary Beth and see some of the monuments again.

The Best Kept Secret Cover Reveal!

Happy April Fool's!

I really love this day. You know why? 

Two reasons:

1) Because I finally get to launch my new website

and, most importantly, because

2) It's The Best Kept Secret cover reveal day!

I've been working on the design and layout of this new site for about a month now (which is why it's been MIA if you've tried visiting recently). The blog has gone through quite a few changes in the last two years as I've struggled to find what really works for me, and this is it. I'm really, really happy with the way it turned out.

I wanted to debut the new design today because I'm also doing my cover reveal and it seemed like the best time to make a big change. The book is being released in just two months! And it's my hope that as traffic (potentially) grows, every reader will get a better glimpse of who I am and what my work is all about.

Now, onto the best part. 

The Best Kept Secret officially has a cover!

I'm so grateful that I got the opportunity to share my thoughts on the cover because not many authors do. This image was one of my top choices, and I think it turned out beautifully. It got the most votes from family and friends, too, so hooray for that!

I want to extend a big thanks to the designer, Anita, for her patience and hard work. You are a rockstar! And, also, I'd like to thank my BookFish team for including me on so much of the behind-the-scenes work. I could not have asked for a better publisher, truly. 

What do you think of the cover? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

from the weekend

This was one of those weekends that was full of food and friends and activities and, when it was over, you just kind of smiled to yourself because life is pretty good, you know?

On Friday night, we did a little shopping at Atlantic Station and had dinner at Tin Drum. I tried to eat compliant with Whole 30 since I'm halfway through now and really don't want to screw up my progress, but you never know for sure what's happening in a restaurant kitchen.

15 Months

I've missed posting updates here about Lucy's development. I thought I would stop once she reached her first birthday, but I like keeping a record of how much she changes and this blog is as good a place as any to do that.

A cottage in the city.

If we ever move out of our house, I will pull this section of trim from the wall and take it with us. It's so precious to me, and I imagine it will be to Lucy one day, as well. 

Valentine's Day

Our Valentine's Day together was pretty simple. Lucy and I gave Pierce a giant card with Kit-Kat bars taped to it, and we got up early and surprised him with breakfast. Then we all took naps and, sometime around noon, decided to get dressed and head out to Shake Shack in Buckhead.

Breaking Out of Show Business by Michael Paul Ziegfeld: A Review

It's been a long time since I've done a book review, but I'm excited to get back to it today with Michael Paul Ziegfeld's humorous and insightful memoir Breaking Out of Show Business: What I've Discovered By Not Being Discovered. 

Just Another Excuse for Lucy Photos

Friday was pay day for me so, naturally, most of my spending money is already gone.

We've worked out a new budget for our family and I'm super excited about it (who gets excited about budgets?), but I also get excited about thrifting and finding little treasures hidden in stacks of junk, so there's that; however, I have resolved not to feel badly about having just $5 left of my spending money because, on Saturday, it was a beautiful 65 degrees and I took Lucy on her first yard sale/thrift store trip where we found the best stuff. THE BEST.


I'm in the middle of working on the content edits for my book, so I'm probably going to be quiet here for a bit. I know you're all terribly sad about it, really. But try to compose yourselves. I'll be back.

The deadline is March 11th and right now I'm crafting some new scenes and fixing old ones to make the book more compelling and, in some ways, more believable. I'm so glad my best friend is a cop. She has been helping me work out the details for some of the grittier scenes and I would look like a total idiot without her. Thanks, Jillian!

We also have a cover release date scheduled for April Fool's Day. With a title like The Best Kept Secret, how is that for ironic? Hopefully everything will stay right on schedule for the book release on June 2nd. This is really happening, you guys. Gah. I can't wait for you to read it. Just go easy on the GoodReads reviews, mmk? Thanks.

Being Afraid for My Daughter Will Not (Always) Save Her

Well, hi there. It's Thursday. Which means I'm finishing up my bible study reading in preparation for tonight's meeting, trying to capture as many hours working as I can, and staring at the edits for my book with a deer-in-headlights expression on my face.

Which leads me to this post, my third for The Huffington Post. And definitely my most personal. It's about motherhood and feeling like failures and all the worrying we do and what, perhaps, we could try instead. Not that I'm an expert, as you'll discover when (if) you read it, but yeah. I'd love it if you would. And maybe you could share your own story, as well? Just leave a comment!

Thanks for reading. I hope your Thursday is wonderful.

Here's to 2015

I approach every new year with the same kind of fearful, joyous anticipation. I send up a quick prayer at midnight as I kiss my husband - and now our Lucy girl, too - that the next twelve months will be filled with a bit more love, a bit less fear, and a whole lot of faith. I remember that in the weeks before New Year's 2013, I felt a heavy sense of dread. I won't say I think it was the Spirit trying to prepare me for ugly things ahead; instilling fear in us is not a part of His character. Rather, I think it was the enemy trying to catch me in a vulnerable moment. And I let him succeed. I gave in to the underlying fear I felt of being newly unemployed -having been laid off just two weeks prior - and the very real prospect of motherhood. At that point, I hadn't been on birth control in over four months. Just one week into 2013, I had what I sometimes refer to as "the breakdown." It happened on a cold, sunny afternoon while I was home alone, having just finished working on a script for a client, and the heavy despair of that day followed me around for months. It was still fresh when I found out, less than two months later, that I was four weeks pregnant. 

Last week was the two-year anniversary of that day. And I still felt a bit of fear about what this year would hold when the clock struck midnight on New Year's Day. But the voice of the enemy was much quieter. I recognized it for what it was, as I have been learning to do for some time, and the voice of the Spirit rang true over all the things my broken, human mind could imagine:

"I am with You. And you can trust Me."

I don't know why January 1st is any more important than any other day. It's not, really. But the beginning of a new year feels fresh and exciting because, at that moment, nearly everyone around the world is hoping. Waiting. Trying to believe in something different than perhaps they have before. And there's comfort in that community, knowing you're not alone in wanting to feel better, live better, love better.

2013, as it turned out, was the most challenging 365 days of my life. I experienced the inky black  darkness of depression and anxiety, the joy and anticipation of pregnancy, the palpable relief of healing, and the exquisite pain of motherhood. And in all those moments came a peace that surpasses all understanding. 

So far, that is what 2015 has been. Peaceful. Not without its anxious moments. But they don't have the final say these days. I let them stand up and shout until their voices go hoarse, and then I move onto more important things. 

Like Lucy. Pierce. Reading a good book. Digging deeper into the Word. Sitting quietly on my bed with a mug of coffee and JJ Heller streaming on my phone. 

I know that life will never be without mess. But just because things don't always end up like I want doesn't mean they don't end up like they should.

Here's to a new year. And all the beautiful chaos that comes along with it. May we embrace what comes our way with the confidence and hope of Christ, our beloved Savior.