When the words don’t come easily…

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I’ve had writer’s block lately.

I have all of these ideas in my mind and on my heart that I carry around with me each day, but as soon as I sit down to type them out, I’m at a loss. Nothing happens. I stare at the screen and will the words to come, but as soon as I start typing, the direction feels itchy and not right and unnatural…

Sigh.

Maybe there are just too many things I want to share…Advent reflections, 2013 recaps, life with my One Little Word (Further), hopes and dreams, prayers and plans for 2014…

Rather than forcing the words, I’ve been a little quiet the last few weeks.

But I’m showing up today, writing this, because I think as a writer, sometimes, we have to sit down and tell whatever story is happening, even if it isn’t glittery or poetic or particularly that interesting. At least it’s real, and at least it’s true.

And at least we’re writing.

So, I suppose that’s where I am these days. Carrying around ideas and hopes, prayers and plans, fixing my eyes on Him and trying not to rush through these quiet Advent days.

I’d love to hear where you are, what you’re doing, and what you’re learning.

Have a beautiful Tuesday,

K

Inspired Desktop: She’s Got Gumption

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Last week, I discovered Hilary Rushford’s inspiring online space, Dean Street Society. She’s definitely a kindred spirit (who rocks a lot of polka dots, believes in bowties, wit, and whimsy, and is passionate about making space for God to move)!

I also fell in love with her blog post sign-off with grace and gumption. What a beautiful way to approach each and every day, yes??

Inspired by Hilary, I decided to look up the official definition of gumption (because I’m a word nerd), and I was delighted to discover it is defined as courage and confidence.

Because I’m seeking to live my days courageously confident in His plan and who He created me to be (and because I just learned how to create gold foil text in Photoshop!!), I couldn’t resist designing a little inspired desktop to share with you all.

As we begin the month of December, our final month of 2013, let’s be courageous and confident in Him. Let’s be full of grace and gumption, and let’s make lots of space for God to move.

:: Get your free desktop download, here. Just right click and save. ::

An Inspired Life: One-Day eBook SALE!

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I don’t know about you, but when the days start getting colder, my reading list starts getting longer! Here’s what I’ve been adding to the list lately:

In celebration of books, the coziness the winter months bring, (AND to kick off your holiday week with a little extra inspiration), I’m offering a special discount today on my book An Inspired Life. Enter the code GETINSPIRED at checkout to save 25% off your purchase.

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An Inspired Life will encourage you to reflect on the past year, be present in your current moments, and dream big with Him in the new year ahead.

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So, snag your copy today, grab your favorite mug and cozy beverage (lately, I’m partial to peppermint mochas!), and join me on an adventure to live fully and creatively for the Lord.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

It’s Undiscovered

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There comes a time when you realize
The past is over
There comes a time when you decide
That your life has just begun
There comes a time when you will say 
That it’s undiscovered

:: Graham Colton ::

Belief is heart language.

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Many years ago, when I was newly blogging and newly walking with the Lord, I read Lauren F. Winner’s book Girl Meets God.

I especially loved the chapter about belief, titled Credo. There’s a section of that chapter where Winner quotes a passage from Diana Eck’s Encountering God, explaining that the Latin credo literally means I give my heart. 

I was so moved by the idea that belief is heart language.

All those years ago, I wrote these words about it: I love the idea that belief is heart language, that when you truly commit to a relationship with God, your faith is rooted in a love so strong that you give your heart to it.

Friends, as we begin this 31 day journey about big belief, let’s check our hearts. Let’s search them for areas of unbelief that we can uncover and surrender to Him, as we take this journey together.

Today, I’m going to spend time in my journal listing out the areas in my heart where I cling to lies and unbelief. I encourage you to do the same. With His guidance, we’ll tackle those unbeliefs together in the days ahead.

::For the month of October, I’m participating in The Nester’s #31Days blog writing challenge. My topic? Big BELIEF. For the next 31 days, I’ll be writing three main things: 1. BELIEVING in His good plan for my life, 2. BELIEVING in the dreams He’s placed on my heart, and 3. BELIEVING in who He is and what He promises. So, what do you say? Will you join me? Will you open your heart to Him and allow Him to grow your belief over these next 31 days? You can read all my #31Days posts, here.::

Longings & Gratitude

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I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning. ~ Shauna Niequist 

 

::Photo by LuSarahSEAS Photography::

Blogging: Getting Back to Basics

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I recently discovered Jenni’s Blog Every Day in May Challenge, and I love what she had to say about it: “I think when you force yourself to blog every day, you stop feeling so much pressure for every post to be perfect. I do that (the pressure thing) BIG TIME, and lately, I’ve been so frustrated by the fact that I’m not enjoying the experience of blogging as much anymore. I want to get back to the basics. You know, the writing stuff.”

I really, really love the idea of getting back to basics with blogging — writing from the heart because you LOVE to write. Enjoying the process of putting words and phrases together and really telling a story.

I wish I could participate this month, but with the eBook writing, I just can’t commit to a challenge like this. It’s for sure something I’d like to do in the future, though. And I might try and respond to a few of her prompts here and there, because sometimes, responding to prompts can free us from writer’s block and really encourage our creativity to bloom again.

Perhaps, once the eBook is published, I’ll create my own challenge.

**And speaking of the eBook, I’m working on the next post in the Creating an eBook series, so look for that soon (maybe this weekend?).

Happy Friday, friends! It’s a beautiful spring morning, and I can’t wait to embrace all that’s in store for this day.

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!

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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

On My Bookshelf: Bread & Wine (A Review)

The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved.

I love that Shauna Niequist’s words do that — that they create a space of warmth and honesty for her reader, a place to feel understood, connected.

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Shauna’s newest book, Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table, is another beautifully written collection of stories that are an honest and true reflection of the way God works in our hearts and the ways in which we discover more of who He is and who He created us to be.

I read Bread & Wine in much the same way as Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet — cozily curled up with a pen or a pencil, so I could underline and star and make little notes.

Reading Shauna’s words makes me want to be braver and more vulnerable in my own writing. Her words inspire courage and a true love for life. And they softly carry grace, too, which is a gift.

As I read my way through each story and recipe, I was reminded of my own desires to live with gratitude, to nourish and nurture the community I’ve been blessed with, and to trust — really trust — this story God is writing for me.

One of my favorite paragraphs in the book comes from the chapter entitled Enough, where Shauna writes these inspiring words:

I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.

I read those words, and with a sigh, thought, yes, exactly.

How wonderful it is when an author pens the very words our own hearts could have written, the very words our own hearts need to read.

And then there are the recipes.

I’m already excited to bless my women’s group with Shauna’s Breakfast Cookies, when we gather on a Saturday morning soon with our coffee, hot chocolate, and open hearts.

And I’m making plans for some of the others, as well.

I can see myself making the Blueberry Crisp, as I finally welcome spring — a sweet taste of the summer to come. I’m sure the Breakfast Quinoa will become a staple (both for breakfast and dinner), and I’m quite looking forward to adding a few goat cheese crumbles to the pan the next time I whip up a batch of scrambled eggs.

I’m also certain this will be a book I read again and again — just like Shauna’s other books. A book that’s scribbled in and underlined and well-loved — the very best kind of book, if you ask me.

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Bread & Wine goes on sale April 9, but you can pre-order your copy, here.

P.S. If you read Bread & Wine, I’d love to hear what you think (and what you cook!).

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Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life—friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.

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{Many thanks to Zondervan for providing me with an advanced reader copy.}