Lost in a Book: My Currently Reading List

stackofbooks

I’m the kind of girl who likes to start many books at once, the kind of girl who wants to read ALL THE THINGS. (#ALLTHETHINGS)

But for a while, I was in a dry season of reading. I couldn’t seem to find a book to get lost in. My heart may have just been too restless. Or, I might have needed a season of quiet in the midst of all the ideas and creating I was embracing.

Whatever the case, I settled into the quiet and focused on my own ideas and words.

Thankfully, I’m back to getting lost in books, delighting in inspiring words on the page and that incredible new book smell.

And because it’s been a while since I’ve written a book post, I thought it would be fun to share a few of the books on my reading list this month.

  • Show Your Work by Austin Kleon I bought Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist a few years ago and loved it. He has such a refreshing view on creativity and art making that I really appreciate. My Show Your Work copy was pre-orderd from the library, and I’m only a few pages in to chapter one, but I’m already wishing I had a copy of my own. The first chapter Find a Scenius is about creating in collaboration and community with others, and if you’ve read any of my goals for this year, you know how passionate I am about that and how important I believe it is for both our art and our relationships with others. :: I’m planning on making a cappuccino later this morning, and I think this is just the book I’ll curl up with. ::
  • You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are and Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth Holley’s words are always so encouraging and uplifting, and after reading and enjoying her book You’re Made for a God-sized Dream, I decided to read her book You’re Already Amazing. Lately, the idea of comparison has been on my heart (and it came up in our An Inspired Life Book Club conversations, too). I am interested in really doing my part in discouraging comparison and building community and collaboration instead among women and artists both online and locally. I thought Holley’s book might speak to that a little and even help me to be a more confident creator for God.
  • The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art by Erwin Raphael McManus I’ve only read a little of this book’s intro,  because I’m saving it for a time I can really sit down and dive into it, but I LOVE what I’ve read so far. I’m going to borrow a quote from the book’s description on Amazon, because I think it really sums up why I am drawn to this book. “There are no shortcuts to quality, and McManus celebrates the spiritual process that can help us discover our true selves.” I love to view creativity as a deeply spiritual process, and I’m excited to read what McManus has to say about that process.
  • The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani The only fiction book on my currently reading list (I actually only like to read one book of fiction at a time). This is the third book in a series about shoemaker Valentine Roncalli. I have loved this trilogy about the passionate, creative, very determined Valentine. Each book combines her love for the artistic work she does, as well as how her creative pursuits are part of each of her relationships and the very person that she is. One of the quotes I loved best from the second book in the series was “I am my best self, the most alive I can be, when I’m creating…” In this third book perhaps what I have loved most are the pages that detail Valentine’s creative process — from gathering her inspiration to dreaming up the designs for her beautiful artisan shoes. In a mass-produced world, I so appreciate the handmade and the people who are in love with their craft and the special art that they create (but that’s a post for another time). :)

In looking at my list as a whole, it’s probably pretty evident that my favorite things to read about are the same as my favorite things to write about — art, inspiration, creativity, and living fully as the men and women God created us to be.

What have you been reading lately? What kinds of books are your favorite to get lost in?

::photo edited with the A Beautiful Mess actions; review coming soon::

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Calling All Dreamers – Guest Post by Heather Boersma

I’m excited to begin my Calling All Dreamers series with this post by the lovely and inspiring Heather Boersma. Many thanks to Heather for sharing her heart here!

daringtoDREAM

From Dream to Reality: The Story of Publishing my first Book

I began writing my first devotional book in eighth grade. It was a time in life when I was totally alienated from my social circles, both at school and surprisingly, at church. My peer groups offered me nothing but rejection, and I was left with a choice; either feel sorry for myself, or use this time to really get to know the Jesus I’d decided to follow so many years before.

I chose Jesus. Each and every day, I sat on the floor beside my bed reading my bible and writing in my prayer journal. I went through dozens of devotional books and found the Word came alive in a way it never had before.  And as the Lord spoke to me, I felt led to share with others what He was revealing. So I began to write.

As the awkward Jr. High years passed and I gained new confidence in who God had created me to be, this passion only grew. Instead of being a reject, I became known as someone who was strong in their faith. People came to me for advice on matters of faith and with their prayer requests. I had been given a message and felt a burning passion to share it with the world.

More than 10 years later, my second attempt at the devotional book began.  An outline was created and the guts of it started to fill out that skeletal plan, bringing my dream to life. But several months after starting, my computer crashed taking all my hard work with it. Strike two.

So when the Lord began to nudge me in this direction for a third time, I’ll be honest, I hesitated. But after months of ignoring the multiple confirmations He sent my way, I relented and decided to obey. This is when the idea for “Dream Big” was born.

The next several months were spent researching, planning, and writing a book proposal.  In the summer of 2010, I began writing the book.  A year later, and just days before my child (a son!) was born, the first draft of my manuscript was completed.  Eight months after that, and two years from when I first said “yes” to God, a proof copy of my book came in the mail. What an amazing journey it has been!

Many people ask me about the process of writing a book, and here are the first 3 things I tell them:

  1. Write a book proposal. In the process of writing a proposal, you will be forced to define WHY you want to write a book. Is it purely for personal gain or do you really have something to offer your reader? If you can’t get through the process of writing a book proposal (and it is a lengthy process, when done correctly), there’s little chance you’ll actually have the stamina and passion to get through writing an entire book! I used the book “How to Write a Book Proposal” by Michael Larsen as my guide.
  1. Set aside blocks of time to write. The unfortunate news is less than 1% of book proposals that go across a publishers desk are accepted. This means you probably won’t have a publisher breathing down your neck to complete your manuscript by a certain deadline. This means you need to breathe down your own neck (hmmm, tricky) and be self-disciplined. So set aside a block of time each day, week, or month for writing. I wrote nearly one third of my book during a two-day writing retreat. I went to the cabin by myself and did nothing but eat, sleep, and write for two days straight. Figure out what works for your life, and then JUST DO IT!
  1. Pray for DIVINE INSPIRATION. This is the last step, but the MOST important of them all.  Here’s the thing — if you’re not writing empowered by the Holy Spirit and divine revelation from God, then what is the point? I’m sure we all want to write something that has eternal value. Something that will allow our readers to experience the Spirit of God ministering directly to their spirits.  In order for this to happen, we need to be diligent and faithful in our own relationship with God and continue to allow Him to speak to us and inspire our words.

I hope you find these tips helpful as you go on your own journey of writing, whether it be a book, an online course, or even a blog! I’d love to hear from you if you have any other questions about writing a book, or about my book “Dream Big: 30 Days to a Life Beyond All You could Ask or Imagine”.  Also, follow this link to watch the book trailer and get a little taste of who I am and what my book is all about!

In Him,

Heather

Connect with Heather // website // e-mail: heather@heatherboersma[dot]com // twitter // facebook

Insta-Moments From My Week

{1.} Took myself on a little coffee shop/bookstore date on my birthday.
{2.} This scripture’s been speaking to me. He’s teaching me how to be fearless.
{3.} Bright and happy birthday flowers from a friend.
{4.} Hot pink shoes + polka-dot pants—perfect attire for celebrating the upcoming wedding of one of my closest friends.

I’m delighted tomorrow is Friday. I have plans to do a little antiquing this weekend, but I’m also just ready for a little rest + coziness. I’ve been collecting some yummy fall recipes, here, and I think it might be the perfect weekend to make soup.

What little moments have made you smile this week?

29 Things

{ photo credits from left to right, top to bottom: 1. mosaic by Designlovefest 2. Elizabeth Kartchner 3. A Beautiful Mess; photo collage design by me }

I’m about to begin the last year of my twenties (eeek!). And I have a pretty ambitious 29 Things list! ;) But I really want to embrace this year. I feel like I’m at such a good place right now…confident in the direction I’m heading, in the prayers I’m praying, and the growth I’m seeing.

I want to keep being brave and bold in my pursuit of the Lord and in my pursuit of becoming even more of the woman He created me to be.

Now…on to the list! ;)

  1. Write, design, and publish my eBook.
  2. Be an active participant of She Reads Truth.
  3. Begin each day in prayer (on my knees). Pray for increased faith every day.
  4. Continue to pray boldly. Commit to another 40 days of prayer.
  5. Read Kate Morton’s new book, The Secret Keeper.
  6. Visit a dear friend in California.
  7. Eat brunch at a local French cafe.
  8. Take my artwork to the local coffee shop who said they’d be interested in displaying/selling it.
  9. Start doing more hand lettering.
  10. Attend a creative conference like Luminous or Alt Summit. Take a Blogshop class.
  11. Purchase vintage-inspired specs.
  12. Read Blog, Inc.
  13. Further develop my brand: Create a media kit for my blog, and pursue some new partnerships/opportunities/collaborations.
  14. Pitch my writing/artwork to a few publications I’ve been dreaming to work with.
  15. Start using the manual settings on my camera.
  16. Learn how to shoot and edit video for my blog.
  17. Save for and invest in a new laptop.
  18. Be more involved in the local art/design/writing community.
  19. Attend Weapons of Mass Creation again. Go to more sessions. Hear more music.
  20. Participate in a 5K like this one.
  21. Wear polka-dotted pants.
  22. Serve the local community with my church through art/creativity.
  23. Learn how to create in Illustrator.
  24. Eat fewer processed foods and more fresh in-season foods.
  25. Try at least one new recipe every month.
  26. Watch the first season of Mad Men—AND finally host that Mad-Men-inspired soiree?
  27. Explore my city more — visit one new place (restaurant/shop/area) every season—and take plenty of pictures/videos of my adventures for the blog! ;)
  28. Go on a fall picnic (with hot apple cider, of course!).
  29. See more live music shows! (Fingers crossed The Civil Wars will come back to the area!)

Lots of creating to come in this next year (and lots of travel, too!). :)

I’m excited to see all God has in store, and I’m excited to continue learning and growing even stronger in my walk with Him.

I want to live this life as fully and creatively as I can, giving thanks for each and every beautiful blessing. 

Inspired City: Fall Library Date

I love library dates.

I love wandering around, row after row, searching for new books to read. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a slow, relaxing Saturday. I think I might be happiest when I’m surrounded by books. ;)

I don’t know about you, but even though it’s only Wednesday, I’m already thinking ahead to this weekend. If you have the time, I encourage you to treat yourself to a fall library date. Pick up your favorite fall-inspired drink, and head to your local library. Take your time. Look at all the books on display for reading inspirations, wander up and down the rows, and see what you discover. You never know, you might just find your new favorite author or book!

Happy searching! :)

P.S. 

I’ve already been compiling my fall reading list.

Here’s what’s on it so far:

Love Does by Bob Goff (currently reading!)

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Blog, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Deangdeelert Cho

What about you? What’s on your list?

{photos by LuSarah SEAS}

Farewell, Summertime

{photography by LuSarah Seas; typography/design by me}

It’s Labor Day Weekend, which I suppose signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall.

For some reason, this summer seemed to fly by much more quickly than last, but perhaps we say things like that every year?

Looking back, it was a good summer. I felt challenged and stretched in many ways. I took some pretty major steps forward toward a few dreams on my heart (hello, eBook!), and I learned how to better trust my own unique creative voice. I sought inspiration at local events and through little adventures shared with friends. I learned how to pray bigger, bolder prayers and how to trust Him more and worry less.

I delighted in happy summer things like cold Izze sodas, good tunes, blue skies, and bright flowers. I ate plenty of sorbet from my favorite local place (always piled with lots of fresh fruit, sprinkles and chocolate bits, of course!) and read good books (like The Circle Maker and One Thousand Gifts).

I sought to live with an open heart, with open hands, and with gratitude always.

And perhaps most importantly, discovered even more of who I am and who He created me to be.

Women Praying Boldly: 40 Days of Prayer

It’s been quite a while since I posted a Women Praying Boldly update.

And honestly, I’ve debated quite a bit about whether or not I should post this one, because sometimes, sharing honestly and openly is scary. It’s hard to be vulnerable and transparent about what’s going on in our hearts.

But then I thought, if this can be an encouragement to even just one woman, then it’s worth being brave about. It’s worth sharing and writing truthfully.

So, here we go… :)

As I’ve been reading The Circle Maker and growing in my prayer life, I’ve felt challenged to devote 40 days to prayer—specifically for my future husband/desire to be part of a marriage that brings glory to the Lord.

Beginning on June 25, I made a list of prayers/scripture that have been heavy on my heart, and I started circling those prayers and promises from God.

So far, every single day, I’ve prayed through them.

Even when I’m tired.

Even when my doubt feels bigger than my faith.

And those prayers have already affected my heart.

They make me feel more connected to God and to the unexplainable hope I have for marriage.

And I like praying for my future husband, because it makes me feel closer to him, even though I have no idea who he is! ;) I want to be a prayer partner for him when we get married, so it makes sense to start now, to be lifting him up every day and praying for him, his dreams, and his walk with the Lord.

I want to be a blessing to him even now.

It is my hope that these prayers will begin a foundation for us, and that the Lord will use them for His glory.

And one last little thing just for fun…

I recently stumbled upon these adorable “My Better Half” interviews over at Amanda Jane Jone’s blog. They are so sweet and quirky and cute, and they really reflect my own hopes to marry a man who will be my best friend.

A man I’ll be better for the Kingdom with.

A man I can be silly with and creative with.

And a man I can grow with, learn with, and create a life story with — one that we’ll fill with our own unique traditions, moments, and memories.

A Heart That Trusts

I’ve been reading a lot lately — taking in as many beautiful words as I can.

And in the midst of all those words and stories, God’s been speaking to me.

His main message? Trust.

I finished One Thousand Gifts this weekend, and I feel like I could keep going back and rereading so many of the pages (which I’m doing a bit of this afternoon, as a matter of fact, as I write this blog).

The author, Ann Voskamp, writes such challenging and inspirational words about trust an area of my faith that I feel God is really challenging me in this season. It’s tough work — this pruning, this teaching that He’s doing in my heart and in my life, but I believe the fruit of it will push me even closer to Him and give me bold courage to follow wherever He leads.

I liked that in One Thousand Gifts, Ann talks about trust being work, taking action, taking discipline: Believe is a verb, something that you do. Then the truth is that authentic, saving belief must also be? The very real, everyday action of trusting. Then a true saving faith is a faith that gives thanks, a faith that sees God, a faith that deeply trusts?

And she says that our daily work must be to trust, referencing John 6:29 AMP — Jesus replied, This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]. She then writes: To trust in the Son, to trust in the wisdom of this moment, to trust in the now. And trust is that: work. The work of trusting love. Intentional and focused.

I think about how my trust in God has ebbed and flowed during the last few months. How I’ve questioned Him and wrestled with Him a bit over various circumstances I’ve found myself navigating.

But like Ann, I believe this, too:  I know my supreme need is joy in God, and I know I can’t experience deep joy in God until I deep trust in God.

Trust is everythingshe writes.

I think she’s right.

Her main focus of the book is the practice of eucharisteo (giving thanks), hence the book’s title One Thousand Gifts. And in her chapter specifically about trust, she connects the two beautifully.

I am changing, deep changing, and I am giving thanks, doing eucharisteo and eucharisteo is eureka, and I know why there’s no fear and why had I never seen it before?

Thanks is what builds trust.

Such a simple sentence with such immense meaning. Thanks is what builds trust.

She goes on to write:
How do you count on life when the hopes don’t add up?

The hopes don’t have to add up. The blessings do.

Count blessings and discover Who can be counted on.

* * *

I’m going to continue to count my own blessings and share them, here.

And as I abide in Him, and He in me, I look forward to discovering more of who He is and more of what He has planned for me.

{Imagine the Possibilities artwork by Penelope Dullaghan from the book Desire to Insire}

Vintage Lettering Love

Lately, I can’t get enough of vintage lettering — especially chalk lettering. I’ve been collecting inspiration on Pinterest and can’t wait to get a copy of the book Scripts: Elegant Lettering From Design’s Golden Age.

I’ve got some plans to use vintage-inspired typography in some upcoming art and blog projects, and I look forward to sharing those here! :)

Aren’t these images inspiring? They make me want to grab my sketchbook and start playing with letterforms.

{ Drew Melton of yourjustlucky.com }

{ Molly Jacques of mollyjacquesillustration.blogspot.com }

Dana Tanamachi }

For more inspiration, check out this great article in the Wall Street Journal about chalk-lettering artist Dana Tanamachi. Her video interview below also is super inspiring!

Happy weekend!