If I Ever Get to Be a Fine Writer

Have you ever started something and then wondered what in the world you were thinking? It reminds me of the scene in the movie Tangled when the main character decides to bravely step out of her comfortable towered room into the unknown for the first time in her life. As she takes her leap of faith she joyously exclaims, “Best day ever!” However, in the next scene she is a weepy hot mess lamenting her decision and branding herself a failure. She tumbles from heights of happiness to the depths of despair, back and forth over and over again.

I’ll admit it. Writing a book  that lays wide-open my heart has me experiencing all the feelings a girl can feel. I have bravely stepped out of my own comfortable towered room into the unknown. On one hand I am ridiculously excited because I love the idea of you putting down my book and inspiring you to pick up the Book that truly matters. This is my greatest hope. I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating, “The one book I want you to read more than mine is God’s Word.” My passion for God’s Word has only grown as I’ve placed myself at his feet and said time and time again, “What do you want your girls to know about your book, Lord?” He has been faithful. I have been moved to tears more than once at his nearness and direction.

At other times, I find myself face down on my bed questioning my calling. I wonder what in the world I’m doing trying to pen words about holy things. I have quit so many times in my head. I’ve assured myself my editor would be grateful if I just sent the contract back and said, “Truly, you have the wrong girl.” Surely they would receive my regrets with relief. Surely.

Have you ever felt that way? What did you do about it?

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Apparently author Flannery O’Conner struggled with going back and forth in her head as well. She was in college when she wrote these word in her prayer journal. I was so moved by it.  It is such a sweet and timely reminder. The important thing for each of us to remember this is God’s story, not ours. As we place ourselves in his hands, he fills the pages of our lives with enough holy words that overflow into the lives of others if we let them.

But the invitation for us is to simply write Jesus across every heart we encounter. When we do that people will not say, “She is amazing.” They will say, “Wow. Her God is good.” Fresh Out of Amazing, Chapter 9. 

Oh sweet friend. Let him fill your heart and then write Jesus across every other one you encounter. And let’s just give him all the glory. May we not steal any for ourselves or our own platforms.

Jesus, pick up your pen. Write on my heart.

Today and always.

xo,

Stacey

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*Post contains one tiny affiliate link. If you click through and make a purchase I get a compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you .

He Weeps With Us

There is always a risk in writing when you emotions are raw and unchecked. Sometimes it is a train wreck. Other times beauty arises from ash heaps. I’m trusting God with my words in this moment because as a writer, I think better when words are flying.

I grew up in the midwest. I’m a small town girl by birth. Nearly fourteen years ago we moved to the City Beautiful and made it our home. Three of our four babies were born here. We shop at Publix and we run and get frozen yogurt on hot summer nights just miles from where today, helicopters are circling. We saw them on the way home from church. “What is that all about one of my teenagers asked?” I reminded her of what our pastor said this morning and she said, “Oh right.” It wasn’t that she wasn’t paying attention. Maybe it is the gift of youth when you hear something in the news but don’t realize the seriousness of it all. I envied her a bit in that moment.

My heart is heavy. I can’t bring myself to  turn on the news. I have only been able to do a quick scan of social media channels because these streets, these people, this city is in fact my own. I know enough of reports to tell you that if I entered full into the details I would cry for days.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I don’t go to clubs. I wasn’t out at 10:30 pm at a concert on Friday night or at a bar early Sunday morning. I was home trying to get my girls to sleep and planning what we were going to wear to church. I am a mom. And this snapshot of a story wrecked me completely:

 

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The look of a mom waiting for news of her son. Washed out. Wide-open stare. Do you know why? Because there are no words a mom can utter when she doesn’t know what is happing to her child. And it doesn’t matter one bit if he 30 or 5. He is her boy.

Hot tears fill my eyes because as a mama I have wrestled at the bedside of my child. I have asked God to intervene. I have sat washed out and wide-eyed myself. I’ve begged God to fix it, and had to make peace with the fact that sometimes he simply does not. 

I don’t have any deep theological answers. But I know this.

“When Jerusalem came into view, He looked intently at the city and began to weep.” Luke 19:41

This same Jesus weeps with us too. 

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He not only weeps with us, he lingers with the broken.

So today, with raw emotions and words that really can’t seem to land too well, I’m going to do what my pastor called our congregation to do. I’m going to pray. I’m going to love my city and the people in it.

Because that is what Jesus is doing.

xo,

Stacey

#loveOrlando

#prayforOrlando

 

What I Wore Instagram Roundup

Happy Wednesday! I know what you are thinking. Where has What I Wore been hiding? I promise you I am getting dressed every single day and usually I snap a picture. But life lately has been on the crazy side of busy and I have found a beautiful and *simple* way to share What I Wore over on Instagram. By the way, do you follow me over there? Please do, it is my favorite place on Social Media! (go ahead over there and click follow).

My plan for now is to post weekly on Insta for #whatIwore each Wednesday. Here on ye old blog, I will do an Instagram roundup from time to time. I think that is a happy mix of goodness. Can I tell you a secret? What I Wore has been such a huge and unexpected blessing to me. I love interacting with you about something as simple as my cardigans. I love that it gives me a chance to talk without writing. Does that make sense? At the same time it has benefited my writing tremendously by helping me learn my particular voice as a writer.  Who knew?

So here is what I’ve been wearing!

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Left: Shirt (Nordstrom Rack), Lace camie (Grace and Lace), Jeans (American Eagle), Shoes (Kohls), Cuff (Farmgirl Paints, Necklace (Fairtrade Friday)

I wore this to speak in at a spring brunch for moms and mentors at my church. I admit I tried on like 10 outfits before landing on this one. I think the lace popping out and cute leopard print shoes are my fave!

Center: Shirt (Stitch Fix), Sweater (Maurcies), Jeans (same), Shoes (Target), Cuff (same)

So this sweater is new for my birthday. Love it. It has a hood which makes it super fun. And it is on the thin side so perfect for Florida air conditioning.

Right: Hoodie (Evy’s Tree), Tank (Lucky Brand), Jeans (same), Shoes (same)

I love red with this hoodie. Evy’s Tree just released the same style in black and blush. I was strong…I did not order either new color but boy did I want to! I love this one.

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Left: Sweater (Maurices), Shirt (Maurices), Jeans (American Eagle), Shoes (Target)

Left Center: Jacket (Stitch Fix), Shirt (Loft),Jeans (same),Shoes (same)

Right Center: Jacket (Stitch Fix), Shirt (Nordstrom Rack – see above post), Skirt (Target)

Right: Shirt (Stitch Fix), Shorts (cut offs by me a pair of Lucky Brand Boyfriend Jeans), Shoes (Target)

This week I discovered I had a $75 Stitch Fix credit on my account! Yippee! So I ordered my next fix for June. I can’t wait! So many of these pieces above are my favorite pieces from Stitch Fix. Do you know Stitch Fix? It is a service where they shop for you and send it all to your house. You fill in a profile and they do the rest. You get to keep whatever you want (and pay for it) plus a $20 styling fee. If you “shop” the fee is part of what you buy so no extra cost to you. It is really like Christmas when you get a box just for you! Love it! Click here to find out more and when you order your first fix I get a tiny credit at no extra cost to you! Thanks!

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Left: Tank (Maurices), Jeans (American Eagle),Shoes (Target), Necklace (Fairtrade Friday),Cuff (Farmgirl)

This tank is so fun. I got it for my birthday from my mom! (aww!) She took me shopping and I found this and fell in love.

Center: Top (Loft), Jeans (same), Shoes (same), Necklace (Foreverly), Cuff (same)

I grabbed this top from Loft a few months ago. I almost didn’t because of ($$) but I am so glad I did. I wear it tons and love its simplicity.

Right: Top (Loft), Jeans (American Eagle),Shoes (same)

I know this is basically the same look as #2, but can you tell I really love this for summer? I usually go sleeveless and add a cardigan. Just so easy!

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I really do hope you will join me over on Instagram! It is the most fun. My blog is going through a re-do soon. So, I appreciate your patience as that happens!

xo,

Stacey

Links:

Stitch Fix

FarmGirl Paints – Cuffs

Evy’s Tree – Josie Tunic

Grace and Lace

Fairtrade Friday Club

 

What Are You Reading?

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(post contains affiliate links)

I have a passion for words. As I’ve written tens of thousands of them in the past two years to put in books, I’ve noticed my love of reading has only increased. What has surprised me though, is that lately I have been on a fiction binge. I still read non-fiction of course, but mostly I’m reading story. I’m actually loving it!

I would love to hear from you, what are you reading? What book have you devoured? Has your heart been pierced by a story or challenged by truth? Let’s chat about that. Meanwhile, here are a few of my personal favorites of late:

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The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers:  (Christian Fiction) This series is twenty years old. I know I’m dreadfully behind the times, but I discovered it through my Library Kindle Book loan program. Did you know you can borrow books for your Kindle reader for free? And no late fees? Joy! I loved it so much I bought the first two in the series. I read both books in about a week. I even broke my rule of not reading the last page of the second book, because I had to know how it turned out. This story answers the questions, “How do you endure hardship with grace? Can you be a light in the darkness when everyone around you rejects the Truth?” I have reread them over and over. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. So good! (Also how much do we love Francine Rivers? Redeeming Love is also a favorite.)

 

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The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen: (Regency Romance/Christian) Julie and I are both represented by the same literary agency, and when I saw her book won an award I grabbed a copy. If you like Jane Austen type of books, you will like her writing style. This is my favorite. It has an element of mystery, a charming lead character, and a handsome local curate. A great summer read if you want to kick back on the beach.

 

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare: (History read aloud for my girls): Set in Connecticut in 1687 this book features Kit, a 16 year old girl who is accused of befriending a local old woman who is considered a witch. Eventually, Kit has to take a stand of her own and face others who are convinced she is a witch as well. I had previously wondered if this book was appropriate for my girls and I have to say it is one of my favorite all time read aloud books we have used. I loved it so much, and so did my girls.

 

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To Live is Christ by Beth Moore: (Christian Living): I had this book on my Kindle for about a year or so. A blog reader told me she was reading it and loved it so I decided to finally dive in. I love this look at the life of Paul. Beth fills in so much of his Jewish background with things I had not considered.  I’m not quite finished, but I love it so far!

 

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Fervent by Priscilla Shirer: (Christian Living/Prayer): I have talked about this book already, so I wont’ go into too much detail. But, let me just say it has been such a jolt to my prayer life. And really, don’t we all need that from time to time?

 

I would love to hear from you what you are reading? Maybe we can come up with a fun summer reading plan! So, now it is your turn!

xo,

Stacey

 

 

 

 

Fear(less) Girl.

Fear has been bossing me around lately. The truth is, I’ve willingly let it happen. I’ve crouched under covers and cried hot tears. I grew fear, instead of faith. In fact, I invited it into my house and served it coffee. I made friends with it.

But my fearless God is not having it.

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“In fervent prayer, we discover something: Our God is fearless. And because He is fearless, we can be fearless too.” Priscilla Shirer, Fervent p 113

And here is the thing. I know better. I tell other women what and who fear really is. I write about overcoming it boldly.

“Romans 8:32 comes to mind and it says, “ If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him?” (The Voice). Why would I ever need to worry or lack faith that he would go the ends of the world on my behalf? No, the Gospel reminds us that God gave it all to deliver us from the Enemy who is dead set on devouring our hearts. The Enemy has no true power over us. I don’t know about you, but when I call to mind this truth, it stirs up in me holy boldness. 

Dare I say boldness?

What is the alternative to boldness? We will crouch in fear. We will live devoured and destroyed.  When fear is on the warpath, I merely need to anchor my soul to the sacrifice of Jesus and plant myself firmly in the victory he has already won on my behalf.

We can’t fight losing battles anymore, sweet friends. They simply don’t exist. “

I let fear boss me around until I have become a shell of the girl God has called me to be. I have stumbled in the darkness and fog fear has left in its wake and started fighting battles already won by my bold savior Jesus.

This week, my friend Robin reminded me, “Stacey, you either believe God’s Word or you don’t.” In that moment I realized I was not living my belief. I was saying it. I was writing it. I just wasn’t living it.

And so, this is my wake up call. This is my battle cry to fear.

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear

but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I cannot.

I will not.

Let fear have the last word.

My God is bigger than my biggest fear. And I’m going to live like I believe it.

I will fear(less). And I will pray.

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I know two are better than one. And twelve would be even better. So, if you care to, let’s make this our joint battle cry. Let’s not allow fear to be the boss of us anymore. Leave a comment and I promise to pray for you. Maybe, you could pray for me too, and the woman who leaves a comment just before you.

xo,

Stacey

*This book by Priscilla Shirer is rocking my world today. I’m so grateful. You can find it here. (affiliate link)