A few things Francis Chan’s Crazy Love has taught me.

If you know me in real life, there’s not a lot you may know about me currently. I’ve been Facebook and Instagram free for awhile now and it’s felt, well, wonderful. I met a woman yesterday, and we were talking about a homeschool group that’s exclusively on Facebook and she made the quiet comment that she’s not on Facebook, expecting me to give her the “ARE YOU INSANE, LADY???” look but when I said I wasn’t on Facebook either, our eyes locked and it was like we were transferred back in time to a period where people actually took two seconds to truly know each other. It was refreshing. So what have I been doing? Homeschooling my daughter, for one. It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride of perfect moments shuffled in with the imperfect ones (think a Vegas card dealer who doesn’t know what he’s doing). But overall, a great experience and the way she looks at books now is the exact way I look at books. So mission accomplished. I’ve also been writing. I’ve given up on novels, and I’m allowing myself to be okay with that. I know. How dare I. But every time I attempt one, I frustrate myself, and if the end result of me trying to write one is me being angry with the world, then I think I’ll pass. I have, however, been writing poetry. I have, however, grown in my relationship with God and have struggled with the idea that I am a Christian. I’m not a fan of your typical Christian who enjoys their Starbucks lattes, oversized SUVs, and smacking an “I Vote Republican” sticker on the back of their bumper. So you can imagine that having to say those words out loud is a little like biting off my own tongue. But I AM a follower of Christ and have seen how He changes lives, my own included. Thankfully, Fancis Chan is a reasonable, logical Christian and I kind of just love what he has to say in his book Crazy Love:
Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or beacuse some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation.” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love
That noise? I do believe it was the mic dropping. Dude. YES. For the longest time I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity because I thought it meant I had to be like the typical smug American Christian. And maybe that’s not fair, but you have to admit there’s A LOT of them walking around. But you know what’s wrong with my assessment of people like this? They’re not Christians. They may call themselves that. But they’re not. Something else I’m taking from Chan’s book is the fact that I must ALWAYS be running towards God and self-assessing my own life. If I get too fat and happy, I’m doing it wrong. So really, this whole country is doing it wrong. You can’t love Christ and your big screen TV. You have to take up your cross and follow Him. And if you’re not going to do that, then okay. But stop calling yourself a Christian. It’s just getting embarrassing at this point.

I know, no social media, and I get all up in arms about everything. But I promise I’m not cranky. I’m just finally getting IT.

So now, a prayer. That all of us walking this path can find love in Christ. In others. That we stop kidding ourselves, believing the safe path is the best path. If things aren’t confusing, uncomfortable, or the opposite of everything you’ve ever wanted, it’s time to pray. To find out what God truly wants. And to set aside those creature comforts and your need to prove yourself to other people in order to prove yourself to the only One who matters.
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What happens when my brain splits in two.

dear hearts

Unkept may be the two sides of my brain, but Dear Hearts is the two sides of my heart.

It was difficult to write, not only canvassing the pain that comes when infidelity inflicts a marriage and family, but writing from the perspective of a man who loves said family and adores said marriage yet has an affair with another man? Well, all I can say is life is gritty and Mitch’s life? It ain’t no exception.

Each word sheared away a piece of my heart.

Mitch and Elena are characters that are deeper than characters. They’re a pulse, working together and withering apart. They are victims to their own love story, craving happy endings when understanding what true, devotional, Godly love is has never glimmered on their radar.

They’re the prime example of what happens when life shuffles its cards and you’re left empty-handed.

What can we learn? Appreciate everything you have, even when  life feels like a single grain of sugar boring through a tooth.  Talk openly, honestly. Do no judge but do not blindly accept either.

Love with a sacrificial heart and an expanse of pure dedication.

Know that we only flicker here for a little while. So use every moment.


Dear Hearts is for the over eighteen crowd so please keep that in mind. Also understand that this book is not a promotional platform for any particular viewpoint. It is an examination into the human mind and heart and the struggle life brings when you leave God out of the picture.

You can read Dear Hearts for free here on Wattpad.

Click here for the ebook.

Click here for a paper copy.

Dear Ava,

I’m a horrible mother. And a terrifically good mother. And a no nonsense mother and a spastic, nonsensical type of female who keeps parking crookedly and forgets the word for fork sometimes, and then other times I feed people my brilliance.

I don’t think any of us were meant to be good at this.

But I think that’s okay. I think for the first time ever, there’s no good mother Olympics, no gold to be won.

There are mistakes and bruises and tears and the way she looks at me like she’s known me before she was born and wishes she’d never met my face.

It’s the same way I look into the mirror sometimes.

But there are those other crystal clear moments, a love abundant, a love like Christ’s, where I can feel it all weaving together, broken skin healing and that sound she makes when she breathes.

Step one, we are alive.

Step two, start living,

Step three, write down, paper to pen.

Dear Ava,

I’m sorry.

But dear Ava,

You now know the truth.

If it feels right, you know it’s meant to be.

There’s an organization called Scarlet Hope that is everything the world should be.

It’s aim is to help women remove themselves from the adult entertainment industry by offering transitional-living, career counseling, housing, mentoring, transportation, and drug rehabilitation. They give women the option of living a more hopeful life for themselves and their children.

This organization has gotten me think about ways that I can help. Volunteering my time is a little difficult right now, so I figured I could offer my talent and treasure instead. This is why I’m relaunching Tipsy Lit, and I’m currently looking for poetry submissions.

tipsy lit books

My aim is to regularly publish poetry chapbooks that reflect the human soul and raise money for charitable organizations like Scarlet Hope. Published poets will receive a free PDF, ePub, or mobi copy for the amazing gift they’ve given the world.

Below is a chapbook of my own poetry that I’ve published under the Tipsy Lit imprint. The book is a $1 (it only comes in a PDF version), and all proceeds will be going to Scarlet Hope.

Thank you to everyone who purchases a copy.

too human

 

Too Human: A Poetry Chapbook

Buy Now Button with Credit Cards

*If you’d like your ebook sent to an email address other than your PayPal email, please make a note of this in the “Note to Seller” box. Please also note if you would like the PDF, ePub, or mobi version.

The Clay Family Guacamole Recipe

One of our favorite things to do is cook together. Tonight we’re making tacos and Ava’s making her signature dish: guacamole!

THE CLAY FAMILY GUACAMOLE RECIPE:

• 3 avocados
• 1/2 a lemon
• 1 roma tomato (chopped)
• 1 clove of garlic
• Coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

1. Remove the skin and seeds then smoosh those suckers in a bowl with a fork.
2. Squeeze the lemon half into the bowl.
3. Fold in the tomatoes.
4. Use a garlic press to smoosh the garlic and fold it in.
3. Salt the heck out of it!

Eat, enjoy. And go have some vodka. Because Saturday.

from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1Pvcwlh

5 Ways I Stay Healthy

I’m kind of a health nut.

I’m kind of a regular but, too, but that’s neither here nor there.

What’s most definitely “here” is the looming fact that society expects so much of us in terms of the way we’re supposed to look.

So it’s one of many reasons I ditched society and got on board with God.

But that doesn’t mean I can ignore my health. In fact, for the very first time, I understand the incredible importance of maintaining and respecting my body.

Here are 5 ways I do just that: • DETOX! This one is so important. It helps your body get rid of so many nasty things that can make you sick and pack on extra pounds or even make your body actually hurt. I drink lemon water every day and do an Epsom salt/baking soda bath once a week. • CLEAN EATING! We make almost all of our meals at home , being sure to include tons of veggies and going easy on gluten and dairy. • NO COFFEE! This one was hard and originally sucked. But now I’m an herbal tea maniac and will never look back. Coffee started to give me severe stomach aches and anxiety attacks so I had to nix it. • WORKING OUT! I got to the Y twice a week to do the leg and arm machines. I used to be hardcore lifter, but I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Now it’s less about bikini body and more about respecting my body. • PRAYING! This one sounds weird, but I pray for my safety on a daily basis. I need to stay strong (and frankly, in one piece) to be a good mama so I ask God to keep an eye out for me.

How do you take care of yourself?

#healthtip #healthtips #cleaneating #healthnut #healthy #detox #tealover
#coffee #tea #workout #prayer #writerslife #workingout #prayerworks #twitter from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1PgT2SP

Instagram Peeps You Should Follow

#followfriday newbie alert! I just wanted to share a few accounts that have offered me inspiration and have strengthened my faith in the “something more.”
Posts from @hibbzhouse are incredibly thoughtful and well said. She gives you the beauty of real life while keeping it just that: REAL.

@thefreckledfox is an amazing woman who is helping her husband battle his health struggles while gracefully raising her beautiful children.

I’ve known @lucilleinthesky via the interwebs for awhile now and think of her as an incredibly wise soul who doesn’t balk at change or embracing life.

And @christ_within gives me a beautiful wake up call on a daily basis.

Go, run, follow, you guys! 😊

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Book Review: The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff

I was asked by the author’s publicist to read and review The Last Embrace by Pam Jenoff and to post my honest option about it. I didn’t receive compensation for this review.

So here goes. Oh and heads up, *THERE MAY BE SPOILERS*

I wanted to read this book because I was intrigued by the storyline. It’s about a young woman, Addie, who is shipped to America from Italy during WWII to live with her aunt and uncle in Atlantic City where she meets the Connally family. The Connallys basically become her surrogate family and she begins to develop feelings for the oldest Connally brother, Charlie.

But war (and the actions of the middle brother, Liam) changes everything and Addie escapes to London where she becomes a war correspondent, rebuilding a new life until Charlie steps back into the picture once again.

Told ya it was intriguing.

But I have a few issues with the book:

• I feel like there’s a lot of telling and not so much showing happening throughout the book. For instance, there’s a fight that occurs later in the book between Charlie and Liam and Addie narrates the scene as if she’s hiding behind a bush, blindfolded. I know the protagonist is looking back on her life, but action needs to happen in front of your readers’ eyes. Always.
• Addie has not one, not two, but three love interests and for me, it made her seem a little all over the place. However I understand now that this is more romantic historical fiction than historical fiction, so if you like the former, it probably won’t bother you.
•When the author did show a scene versus just telling it, she quickly added a “telling” line right after it. I know it can be difficult to avoid over-explanation and to truly trust your readers, but readers are smart cookies. They’ve got this.
•There were a few editing issues. For example, photograph is used instead of “phonograph” in one chapter.

Despite these issues, I still give Ms. Jenoff a solid 3 (out of five) stars. ✴✴✴

She’s a decent writer, the book’s premise is well thought out and just because I’m not a romance fan shouldn’t be the reason you don’t read this book.

I Gave Birth to a Golden Girl

She’s finger knitting while watching The Andy Griffith Show.

If I couldn’t be a Golden Girl, then gosh darn it, I was going to give birth to one!

#goldengirls #anyoneneedsomethingthatfaintlyresemblesascarf #kidsofinstagram #kidsofig #twitter from Instagram: http://ift.tt/1MmjqZ4